Vilonia Police Department said they now know who they are looking for in connection with the theft of credit cards, cash and a driver’s license from a Vilonia School District employee Thursday.
Chief Brad McNew said Nowel Whitehouse, 31, of Conway, has been identified as the man in a surveillance camera photo who allegedly attempted to use credit cards belonging to Terri Chandler to purchase money cards at Harps in Vilonia shortly after the theft was reported.
"He’s still on the loose but we know who he is," McNew said. "We have been told he got on a plane Friday headed for Arizona."
The Vilonia incident, McNew said, isn’t Whitehouse’s only run in with the law. Whitehouse is on active supervision with probation officers, McNew said. As well, McNew said, Whitehouse is being sought in connection with a similar crime that occurred recently on a Greenbrier School District campus.
"Yep, he’s hit here. This is not his first rodeo," said Greenbrier Police Chief Gene Earnhart. In Greenbrier, Earnhart said Whitehouse entered the classroom of a teacher and allegedly stole two credit cards and a driver’s license from a teacher’s purse. He then went to Harp’s in Greenbrier and claimed to be the husband of the victim and was successful in a transaction involving the theft of $1,000. On the store’s surveillance camera, Earnhart said they were able to zoom in on the teacher’s credit card confirming her name.
"We’ve got warrants on him," Earnhart added.
The Vilonia theft took place at about 4:30 p.m. at the office of Chandler, who is the counselor, on the campus of the Elementary School. Chandler had stepped away from her office momentarily leaving it unlocked. When she returned minutes later, she encountered the man leaving her office and she spoke briefly with him. He reportedly told Chandler he was looking for someone to give him directions to the gymnasium. Checking her purse, Chandler discovered her driver’s license, cash and credit cards missing. The police, credit card companies and bank were alerted immediately.
Chandler, as well as others, reported also seeing the "sea-foam green, Jaguar being driven allegedly by Whitehouse leaving the campus. McNew said he anticipates Whitehouse will be apprehended soon. He will be charged, McNew said, with two counts of theft of property and breaking and entering.
"He’s a wanted person and if anyone knows his whereabouts, they need to let us know now," McNew concluded. Vilonia Police may be reached at 501-796-2534 or Greenbrier Police may be contacted at 501-679-3105.