By Margaret Baker
May 13, 2013
GAUTIER – The Gautier Police Department has won the coveted Golden Cat award from the Secretary of State's Office and LeadsOnline, an online investigative database used to track transactions from scrap yards, second-hand stores, pawn shops and similar businesses in and out-of-state.
Gautier won the award, complete with a $1,000 grant to the Police Department, for their use of the investigative database to gain the tips they needed to make an arrest in the Aug. 8 murder of Jacob "Jack" Thomas Markowitz, 61, of Biloxi.
Businesses provide information that is stored in the database.
Shortly after authorities found Markowitz shot to death inside his burning pickup truck, police learned he bought and sold catalytic converters for a living. They knew the database kept track of such transactions.
Police Capt. Jerry Cooksey said police often use LeadsOnline to track transactions for tips or to help identify possible suspects in different cases. After the killing, police posted on the database a picture of what was believed to be the suspect's vehicle, a 2008 Dodge Quad Cab pickup with a utility cage, and other information.
Soon, Cooksey said, police got the tips they needed from the online database to confirm the identity of their suspect.
Police arrested Steven Michael Brown Sr., 62, of Fairhope, Ala., on a charge of capital murder in the killing. Police believe Brown shot and killed Markowitz during a robbery and then set fire to his truck. A Jackson County grand jury has since indicted Brown.
"LeadsOnline was instrumental in helping investigators identify the murder suspect," Cooksey said.
The Secretary of State's Office and LeadsOnline will formally present the award to the Gautier Police Department at 2 p.m. Wednesday.