COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - It has been more than a week since Shirley’s of Collins was destroyed by a fire that investigators believe was set intentionally. Collins Police Chief Joey Ponder said Wednesday that investigators finally have a break in the case.
Ponder said Collins police have arrested two suspects, including one juvenile, in the investigation. According to Ponder, both suspects are charged with commercial burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and attempt to commit a crime. Investigators believe the suspects are also connected to additional break-ins that happened at other businesses in Collins last week.
Ponder identified the adult suspect as 19-year-old Kendrick Jordan, of Collins. Jordan was arrested on March 18 and is being held at the Collins Jail on a $150,000 bond, Ponder said.
The fire that destroyed Shirley’s, a well-known business in the area, was sparked on the night of Sunday, March 10. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene that evening, the building was already engulfed in flames.
Collins Fire Chief John Pope said crews worked through the night to douse the flames but were ultimately unable to save the building.
After further investigation, Pope said officials determined the fire was “incendiary in nature” and was possibly set to cover up a burglary of the business. Pope said first responders discovered items missing from inside the building and an open entrance that would have normally been shut and locked.
Ponder told WDAM the suspects in custody are believed to be connected to the Shirley’s fire, but they are not charged with arson at this time.
Meanwhile, the Collins business community is hoping Shirley’s will be back in business soon.
Shirley’s owner Tammy White told Marie Shoemake, executive director of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, that she plans on rebuilding.
“If she finds a place if possible, she will open up something until the store can be rebuilt, is what she told me,” Shoemake said. “But, in the meantime, people can go to Ellisville to shop. She has a wonderful store over there with basically, the same products and all.”
A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the State Fire Marshal’s Office for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. If you have any information on the fire or burglary, you’re asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 1-888-648-0877, Collins police at 601-765-6541 or Pope at 601-765-5110.