Second Suspect Jailed For Vehicle Break-Ins At Mercedes Plant

TUSCALOOSA, AL — Investigators with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office have charged a second Jefferson County man following a series of vehicle break-ins at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance earlier this month.

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Ro’Daryus Mitchell, 25, of Center Point, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle.

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Sgt. Josh Hastings of the TCSO Criminal Investigations Division told local media during a press conference Wednesday afternoon that investigators anticipate additional charges in the case.

The arrest on Wednesday also comes two weeks after Jefferson County native Terrance Wuanya Whatley, 25, was charged with 12 counts of vehicle burglary.

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Whatley has an extensive criminal record and was out on bond at the time of his arrest earlier this month. Mitchell was also denied bond following his arrest, due to being out on bond as the subject of similar arrest warrants.

Hastings said more than two dozen vehicles were broken intoon May 12.

Stopping short of providing specifics, Hastings then said the plant had taken its own steps to bolster security measures in its parking lots and around the MBUSI campus.

“There have been some things implemented that will be beneficial for employees at the plant and obviously beneficial for us,” he said. “Because, if we’re not getting reports, then that means certain precautions have been taken that are benefiting all parties involved.”

In speaking with the media on Wednesday, Hastings also urged the public to be mindful of locking their vehicles and not leaving valuables out in the open.

“I think any time you have an open area like that a shopping mall, a ballpark, or anything like that where you have a bunch of vehicles, it’s going to be somewhat opportunistic for anyone that’s wanting to try to break into vehicles and get whatever items they can,” he said. “Make sure, if you do have valuables in the car, that they’re out of sight.”

Hastings also thanked Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeremy Barbin, the U.S Marshal’s Task Force and Mercedes Benz U.S. International Human Resources Specialist Cicero Bevelle for their work on the investigation.

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