Investigators stumped after Shelby Farms thief leaves part of his finger behind during robbery

Investigators tell Action News 5 when they find the man who recently broke into the Shelby Farms Visitors Center, he won't be hard to identify.

Lt. F. Hughes, an investigator with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, pointed to a crucial piece of evidence the burglar left behind during the break-in.

"When we do find him, we'll be looking for him to explain why he has a missing finger, and why we recovered one," Hughes said.

According to Hughes, part of a human finger was found in the aftermath of the burglary at the visitors center's administration office.  Hughes said burglar broke a lock, ransacked an office, and broke into an office manager's desk.  While the man made off with some files and a load of gift certificates, the evidence he left for investigators could be even more valuable.

When asked which finger the thief left behind, Hughes was stumped.

"By me not having the rest of the hand, I can't determine that right now," he said. "But, when I get the rest of the hand, I'll be able to kind of match that with what we have so far."

Investigators believe the man severed part of his finger while breaking glass in a door to gain entry to the office.  With the crucial piece in hand, investigators ran fingerprints.  The severed limb was helpful.

"We have been able to lift a partial print," Hughes said. "That print has not been verified yet."

According to Hughes, investigators think it shouldn't be too hard to get a handle on this case.

In the end, the thief swapped part of his finger for $400 in Honey Ham Store gift certificates.

A witness later saw what was believed to be the thief's car, with Madison County tags, in a neighborhood near LaVerne and Gwynn in Memphis.  The driver of the car could be seen tossing files out a window.  Those files ended up being documents stolen from the office manager's desk.

The suspect is still on the loose.

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