Alleged car theft leads to arrest


Pine Bluff police arrested a man who allegedly stole a car at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon.

Willie Baines, 27, told police he did not have permission to drive the vehicle when he was taken into custody in the area of West Eighth Avenue and Spruce Street.

A probable-cause affidavit from Detective Steven Rucker that was presented in court Thursday morning said the owner of the car, Donovan Steele, told police a man later identified as Baines had forced his way into Steele’s car at gunpoint, then took cash, Steele’s identification card and a bank debit card as well as the vehicle, a green Pontiac.

Steele was found walking in the area of West 23rd Avenue and Olive Street and a description of his car was broadcast to police units in the city.

Rucker said in the affidavit that an officer saw the car in the area of West Eighth Avenue and Spruce Street and saw a man later identified as Baines run from the vehicle. When he was arrested, Baines allegedly was wearing the same clothing as the person who had run from the vehicle.

When he was interviewed, Baines allegedly said that he had met Steele to buy drugs from him, and when Steele entered a business to “sell drugs,” Baines drove off in the vehicle. Baines also denied having a gun and Rucker said in the affidavit that none was found.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $25,000 bond for Baines, who Deputy Prosecutor Maxie Kizer said has “an extensive criminal history,” after ruling that prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with theft of property.

According to the intake log at the adult detention center, Steele, 28, was arrested on probable cause of filing a false police report and he is expected to appear in court Friday.

Baines said he would hire his own attorney.