LaFayette police are warning residents to lock their vehicles after a string of thefts from the vehicles. Police have arrested three men on a total of 19 counts of theft from autos.

Between 11 p.m. on Sept. 26 and 8 a.m. on Sept. 27, someone entered a woman's unlocked 2017 Chevrolet Malibu at her residence in the 800 block of Smallwood Street in LaFayette. The culprits stole her wallet containing around $400 in cash, various credit cards and identification cards, as well as a folder containing personal information like insurance cards and registration.

On Oct. 11, sometime between midnight and shortly after 10 a.m., someone entered a man's 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck and stole a paintball gun and a pair of Nike tennis shoes at his residence in the 200 block of Doc Love Avenue.

On this same date and location, two suspects entered a woman's 2009 Volkswagen Routan and stole an Igloo cooler, a prescription of Ibuprofen and attempted to steal her radio as well, but only caused damage to the face of it.

Sometime between Oct. 6, at around 11:30 p.m. and Oct. 7, around 6 a.m., two suspects entered a man's 2005 Kia Sorento and stole his jumper cables, various air fresheners and a bottle of power steering fluid. The suspects also tried to remove the man's vehicle battery.

On Oct. 9, around 1 p.m., an off-duty Walker County deputy witnessed three males entering a vehicle on South Cherokee Street. The deputy took his duty weapon and held the men at gunpoint, but an unknown black male wearing a red hoodie fled on foot down South Cherokee Street and has yet to be charged.

The deputy held the suspects at gunpoint until police arrived on the scene.

The suspects had entered various vehicles in the area and stolen items including a Twix candy bar, a child's book bag and a flower-covered bag.

The items were located on the two suspects identified as Zachary Gage White, 20, of Chickamauga, and Jeremiah Harley Whitfield, 17, of LaFayette. Both men were charged with entering autos/theft.

White was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine.

White and Whitfield now face 12 counts of entering automobile/thefts in the city.

Sometime between Oct. 10, around 11 p.m. and Oct. 11, shortly before 9 a.m., someone removed the driver's-side glass window and stole a man's fishing license at a residence in the 900 block of McLemore Street.

On those same dates and street location, a woman reported that someone entered her vehicle and stole around $120 in cash, her and her son's social security cards as well as three cell phones from her 2008 Volvo. Police were able to return some of the credit cards to the woman.

During the same dates and times, a suspect made his way to the 1,000 block of Magnolia Street and entered a woman's Mercury Mountaineer and stole around $120 in cash.

On Oct. 11, shortly after midnight, a suspect fled on foot after he was spotted entering an automobile once again in the 1,000 of Magnolia Street. Mangrum had stolen a multi-tool, around $200 in cash and a Tom Tom GPS device from the vehicle.

The victim got in her vehicle and began to search for the suspect, who was later located behind the area of Ridgeway Baptist Church.

This is when police were able to arrest the suspect. Police charged Lucas Caleb Mangrum, 18 of Chickamauga, with entering auto/theft.

Also on Oct. 11, a woman residing in the 400 block of Daugherty Street was contacted by police and told her that various credit cards belonging to her were located at Mangrum's residence. The woman said she works with Mangrum at McDonald's. Her cards were then returned to her residence.

Through investigation, it was determined that Mangrum was connected to a total of 7 entering automobile thefts.

The three men are facing 19 in total entering automobile theft charges. There are 12 charges for White and Whitfield and 7 charges for Mangrum.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at