Helena police: We ‘caught them in the act’

Published 11:27 am Monday, February 10, 2014

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

HELENA – Two Birmingham men are being held in the Shelby County Jail on felony theft of property charges after Helena police said the men allegedly led them on a vehicle chase into Pelham after stealing from a local business on Feb. 4.



The Helena Police Department arrested 51-year-old Milton Phillips and 44-year-old Lycesta Tyus and booked them into the county jail on Feb. 5.



Tyus is facing two first-degree theft of property charges, one second-degree theft of property charge and one count of first-degree criminal mischief. Phillips is facing one first-degree theft of property charge.

Helena Police Sgt. Chris Rollan said police received a report of a possible theft in progress at Helena’s Shelby Machine business at about 1 p.m. on Feb. 4. When officers arrived, Rollan said they allegedly witnessed the two suspects “in the act” stealing scrap metal from the business.

After officers arrived, the suspects fled the scene in their vehicle and led police on a brief chase ending near the Interstate 65 tank farm exit in Pelham, Rollan said. No injuries were reported in the incident.

After arresting the two suspects, Rollan said officers were able to link them to multiple past theft cases at Shelby Machine.

“It ended up being some pretty big stuff,” Rollan said, noting the suspects were on probation for a previous crime when Helena police arrested them.

According to the suspects’ arrest warrants, they allegedly were attempting to steal about $3,215 worth of scrap steel from the business on Feb. 4.

According to Tyus’ arrest warrants, he also was charged with a Jan. 26 theft from the business, during which $1,600 worth of steel and tubes were stolen, and an Oct. 14, 2013 theft, during which $11,300 worth of copper and steel parts were stolen.

As of Feb. 10, Tyus was being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $90,000 and Phillips was being held on a $30,000 bond.

Both suspects are scheduled to appear in the Shelby County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on March 6 at 8:30 a.m.

First-degree theft of property is a Class B felony. If convicted, the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison per first-degree theft charge.