Crime

Update: Burglar ‘busted his butt’ in law firm break-in, lawyer says

Christopher Donnell Lee
Christopher Donnell Lee

A man who broke into a law firm over the weekend seemed to have no idea surveillance cameras were recording his every move from different angles.

Videos and screen grabs apparently helped the Gulfport Police Department identify the man suspected of breaking into the law office of Boyce Holleman & Associates on Saturday night.

Police arrested Christopher Donnell Lee, 43, early Monday on a commercial burglary charge.

Attorney Tim Holleman, one of two attorney sons of law firm founder Boyce Holleman, had posted clear video and screen grabs on his Facebook page. Holleman removed the posts later Monday morning, telling the Sun Herald he removed them at the request of Gulfport police investigators.

Holleman said he believes the burglar was looking for money.

The law firm is on 23rd Avenue near 18th Street, directly across from the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport. Tim Holleman is the county attorney.

Surveillance footage shows the burglar “cased the place” before he broke in at 6:43 p.m., Holleman said. The man rode by on his bicycle, circled around and went in the back parking lot, and went around front, but rode away when a car passed by the office.

‘He butted the door’

But the man returned, Holleman said. One video viewed by the Sun Herald showed the man put his bicycle down as he went to the front door.

“Using his body, he butted the door,” Holleman said. “On the third try, he busted his butt on the floor.”

As the man fell inside, the security system began to beep, allowing time for someone to turn it off before a siren went off, he said; but the man wasn’t easily deterred.

“He broke the receptionist’s door and was ransacking drawers when the siren went off,” Holleman said.

“That siren’s loud. He runs into a chair trying to get out. One of my friends described it as a pirouette, but it was shadows that made it look like that as he turned to run out.”

It appears the man left empty-handed.

Officers looked at the videos and identified Lee as a suspect, police Sgt. Joshua Bromen said. Patrol officers found him about 11:50 p.m. Saturday in the 1700 block of Kelly Avenue, he said.

Lee was held at the Harrison County jail on a $30,000 bond set by Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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