Opelika police arrested a 44-year-old man accused of taking more than $10,000 worth of property from the Southern Union Community College's new construction site after the suspected burglar broke into a storage unit Monday, according to a news release.
William Eugene Barrett was charged with two counts of third degree burglary, two counts of second degree theft of property and one count of second degree criminal trespass.
Police say Barrett was arrested after a witness noticed a storage unit door ajar at Columbus Parkway's Sun Self Storage. The witness later saw Barrett flee the storage unit and run into the woods.
Not long after, Opelika police found a suspicious vehicle on the side of Columbus Parkway. While they investigated, Barrett ran out of the woods and tried to drive away. Detectives stopped Barrett and discovered property from the storage unit in his possession, according to the release.
Investigators later linked Barrett to the Southern Union Community College burglaries, which were committed between Aug. 4 and Aug. 14. Of the $10,000 worth of property taken, more than $5,000 has been recovered. An unquantified amount has also been recovered at area pawn shops, according to the release.
Barrett also may face charges for several credit card theft cases at Opelika businesses.
Opelika police say the case was a major breakthrough for department detectives, who have "worked tirelessly in following up on all leads."