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Break-ins appear to stop after arrest of Urbanna ‘umbrella’ suspect

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 23:31:36-05

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Va. -- In a town that looks like it's the set of a Hallmark movie, a thief was busy targeting small business owners.

For a month and a half, he terrorized the town of Urbanna with stealth break-ins.

It ended with an arrest a few days ago.

A sleepy Middlesex County waterfront community, "Urbanna has a population of 500 to 600 people,” said Middlesex County Maj. Michael Sampson. “But just out of town limits, there's a large campground that houses people from Richmond, Northern Virginia, really all over."

Business owners in the town say a thief struck multiple times going back before Thanksgiving.

"This was a first,” said Kim Harris, who has owned a hair salon for four decades. “It's violating to have to come in and see this. It took me a second to realize what happened."

Harris says the break-in at her place caused her to make sweeping changes. "I did have a pistol in there and he got that," she said. "We've changed our ways. I've now got a security system and my husband and I are putting one in our home, too."

Investigators developed leads based on break-in patterns and used two- and four-man surveillance teams to try to find their crook.

"Dark hoodie, always up over his head, dark pants and boots, and he was actually seen a couple of times with a T-shirt as a face shield, something to that effect,” said Sampson.

Pay dirt came for deputies right before the New Year: Desean Byrd was captured right after a surveillance photo appeared to show him trying to shield his face with an umbrella, at the Beth Page Campground.

The suspect was seemingly caught in the act, in effect, a resolution before the usual New Year’s resolutions were made.

"It was ‘calling all cars,’ essentially,” said Sampson. “We brought all of the investigators in, and SRO's were involved to do surveillance into the early morning in the town of Urbanna, to stop this."

Byrd, who was released from prison last summer, has now been charged with six felonies so far.

Sampson says the investigation is ongoing and points out that since the arrest, they haven't had anymore break-ins.