By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
The suspect in the Zales Jewelers crash-in burglary on Jan. 25 in Village Square Mall could be indicted by an Effingham County Grand Jury this month.
Jordan J. A. Johnston, 23, of Shelbyville, has been jailed in Shelby County Jail since his arrest two weeks ago on a residential burglary charge at Stewardson. A collaborative effort by Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Effingham Police officers linked Johnston to the mall burglary where a vehicle smashed through a doorway and then shattered a Zales window to allow access to jewelry items in that store. The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 25.
Law enforcement is also looking to make another arrest in the mall case. For now, the case moves forward against Johnston in Shelby County, while formal charges, including counts on burglary and property damages, are pending in Effingham County.
Johnston is being held on $7,500 bond in Shelby County. He could be released from custody there by posting $750 through bail.
The case against Johnston has been in a two-county orbit several hours after the mall break-in and jewelry heist was reported in Effingham. Effingham Bureau of Criminal Investigation detectives later that day obtained information regarding the suspect vehicle, which was recovered by law enforcement that day in Shelby County.
The Shelby deputies were investigating a residential burglary in their jurisdiction and soon realized a connection to the burglary in Effingham earlier that morning, where a Cadillac Crossover demolished a mall doorway on the northwest side of the building and then used that as an exit point after the theft from Zales.
A combination of a surveillance video from one of the mall stores, news reports online or broadcast and information from the public helped the criminal investigation move forward very quickly that day. Later, the investigating officers were able to gather information on a second suspect in the case. An arrest on that person of interest had not materialized as of press time Tuesday.