By Steve Rogers
He once sued a police chief and detective for false arrest. More recently, his late evening visits asking for money have disturbed a growing number of north Columbus residents.
Now, 39-year-old Develle Henderson, who Columbus Police say is homeless, is in jail, charged with stealing a television from a church.
According to a police press release, on May 31 the Church of Christ at 2401 Seventh Street North reported a burglary. Henderson was arrested June 14. The television has not been recovered.
Numerous residents of neighborhoods near Holly Hills and Bluecutt roads have reported Henderson coming to their home in the evening asking for money to help a sick relative, fix a car or some other cause. At least one church put him up for a night in a local hotel.
And he’s been charged in Starkville before with forgery and violations of the city’s peddling laws.
In one case, he was charged with robbery and kidnapping after using the “sick child” ruse on Sept. 21, 2009, to get $20 from a Starkville resident and asking the man to take him to the hospital. The man agreed and actually drove Henderson to three convenience stores, the last of which was open, so Henderson could buy cigarettes. After the last stop, Henderson then had the man drop him off at a rundown apartment complex.
Police charged Henderson with the serious offense because the victim said he feared Henderson would harm him or his fiancee and would return in the future. The Grand Jury later refused to indict Henderson, prompting his lawsuit for wrongful arrest against then Det. Chad Garnett and former Starkville Police Chief David Lindley.
The lawsuit eventually was dismissed. During depositions for that case, Henderson admitted he lied to get the money to feed a cocaine addiction, according to court records.