Investigators in Tuscaloosa County have arrested a second man in connection to a series of vehicle break-ins at the Mercedes Plant in Vance, a 25-year-old out on bond for a spate of similar crimes in 2020.

As the Thread previously reported, several employees at the plant got a nasty surprise earlier in May when they found thieves had broken into more than a dozen cars and trucks parked outside the plant one shift.

Some victims had items stolen out of their vehicles, and others said nothing was taken but their cars had been broken into.

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The case was investigated by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, who arrested their first suspect only days after the break-ins occurred. 

That man, 24-year-old Terrance Wuanya Whatley, was charged with 12 separate counts of unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle. Now, two weeks after the first arrest, Sergeant Josh Hastings told the Thread TCSO has arrested a second suspect allegedly connected to the spate of break-ins.

Hastings said the second suspect is 25-year-old Ro'Daryus Mitchell, who is from the Birmingham area and has been charged with two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle. Hastings said TCSO expects more charges will be filed against Mitchell.

This isn't the first time Mitchell has been accused of crossing county lines for a crime spree -- in December 2020, he was charged with 22 counts of unlawful breaking and entering after he and another man allegedly broke into cars parked outside hotels all across the state.

Hastings thanked Sgt. Barbin and other investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office as well as the US Marshals Task Force for their assistance in making this arrest. He also thanked Cicero Bevelle, Human Resource Specialist at MBUSI, for being an integral part of the investigation.

For more exclusive crime and court coverage, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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