November 23, 2020

Accused steak thief may have stolen brother’s identity too

A man accused by Monticello police of shoplifting steaks may have stolen his brother’s name, too.

Police thought they arrested Vernell Simmons, 58, of McComb, Monday after he and two others were identified as the suspects in a theft at Ramey’s Marketplace. He was booked in Lawrence County Jail along with his accomplices Stephen Lamar Heisser, 57, of 1407 Topp St. in Jackson, and Elshakethia White, 34, of 120 Gillis Circle in McComb.

But his brother, the real Vernell Simmons, contacted Police Chief David Stanley Thursday to notify authorities about the scam.

Simmons’ brother is actually 55-year-old Donald Landrew of Summit. Landrew hasn’t had a driver’s license since 1996 and when he was arrested he gave police his brother’s name. He was a good enough match to his older brother’s license photo that police assumed it was him, Stanley said.

Landrew, who was charged with shoplifting, possession of stolen property, open container in a vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and no proof of liability insurance, bonded out of jail Wednesday, but will face additional charges of providing false information. He could also face a charge of driving without a license.

Heisser’s charges include shoplifting, possession of stolen property, open container in a vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia. White was charged with shoplifting, possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia.