BERLIN — One suspect wanted in connection with a string of burglaries in Worcester County late last year and early this year is in custody in Tennessee after he was found in possession of a handgun allegedly swiped during one of the break-ins, while his alleged partner in the crimes remains at large.
Back on Nov. 18, 2011, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported burglary at a residence in Bishopville during which several electronic gaming devices and accessories, along with a laptop computer, musical instruments and other items totaling over $1,000 had been stolen. Due to the nature of the crime, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) was called in to handle the case.
On Dec. 6, the sheriff’s office responded to another burglary report at a residence in Snow Hill. During that break-in, several pieces of jewelry, a .38-caliber handgun and other items valued at over $1,000 were stolen. Again on Feb. 1, a third burglary was reported in Snow Hill. In that case, the suspect or suspects first attempted to break in through the front door before breaking a window in the rear of the residence to gain access. Stolen during that break-in were electronic gaming systems, an LCD television, and a laptop computer.
Last Thursday, the sheriff’s office received a wanted check from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee requesting confirmation a .38-caliber handgun they had recovered from a suspect was the same reported stolen in Worcester County. The handgun was confirmed as the same on that had been stolen from the burglary in Snow Hill in December. The suspects in possession of the stolen gun in Tennessee were confirmed as John Docherty, 46, and Jennifer Lee Morris, 35, both of Dover. Docherty and Morris had previously been identified as persons of interest in the Bishopville burglary back in November and detectives were able to determine the two suspects were still in possession of items stolen during that break-in.
After connecting Docherty and Morris to multiple burglaries in Worcester, WCBI detectives reviewed several other burglaries that had occurred in the county during the same time frame and were able to connect the pair to other break-ins. Docherty was placed under arrest by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office for crimes committed in Tennessee as well as a fugitive warrant from Florida. Morris was not immediately arrested and fled the area after being questioned by police about her involvement in the break-ins.
Morris remains at large, while Docherty is being held in Tennessee on bonds totaling over $600,000.