Officials recover more stolen ATVs

Published 5:00 am Monday, March 30, 2009

The gated lot behind the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department isstarting to look like a holding yard for all-terrain vehicles andlawnmowers, and officials said there are still more to come.

After the Wednesday arrests of Jamie Lee Loving, 40, of 340 DryCreek Road and Lester Dale Perry, 36, of 449 Jackson Liberty Dr.,on charges of receiving stolen property, local authorities haverecovered another 10 ATVs and lawnmowers from several southernMississippi counties. The actions bring the total of the recoveredproperty to 17 vehicles and three trailers.

“At this point we’re just trying to get everything collected sowe can return (items) to (their) owners,” said Lincoln CountySheriff Steve Rushing.

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The probe began in December when eight ATVs were reported stolenin Lincoln County. Rushing said the break in the case came when acitizen in Columbia overheard someone talking about stolen ATVs andcalled the police.

“They caught a guy in the act over there, and once he got totalking we traced it back to here,” Rushing said. “By the time it’sall recovered, we figure we’ll be looking at around $300,000 ofstolen property.”

Rushing declined to release the name of the third suspect who isin police custody in Columbia. He said his department has a hold onthat suspect, just as several other jurisdictions also have holdson Perry and Loving.

Loving and Perry remained in jail Saturday on $100,000 cashbonds each.

Several more of the stolen ATVs that may be linked to Perry andLoving will be coming in on Monday from other jurisdictions,Rushing said. He said his department currently has property stolenfrom Franklin, Adams, Amite, Lincoln and possibly Wilkinsoncounties, and some of the stolen property is being shipped in fromas far away as Texas.

“We’ve got approximately another 10 more to pick up,” he said.”Most of those are already in police custody in othercounties.”

Of the eight that actually began the investigation in LincolnCounty, Rushing said four have been recovered and some that werereported to Brookhaven Police Department have also been broughtin.

Loving and Perry will face additional charges, Rushing said, butofficials are waiting to charge them until they have all the stolenproperty accounted for.

“This is probably one of the largest cases I’ve seen in terms ofstolen equipment,” Rushing said, adding that his department had thehelp of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the MississippiAgriculture Theft Bureau. “It’s great that there are state agenciesthat will work with us like that.”

Rushing said it could be Tuesday or later before the owners ofthe stolen property can get their ATVs, trailers, and lawnmowersback.

“We have to go through these things and notify the agencies inthe counties they came from, and it will take a few days to getthem all sorted,” he said. “A lot of these agencies have beenworking on these since before Christmas and it’s been goodteamwork.”

Rushing said currently his department has recovered five “Rhino”ATVs, three Kubota lawnmowers, one Kubota rough terrain vehicle,one Polaris Razor RTV, a Kawasaki “Mule,” three Bad Boy electricbuggies, one Stealth buggy, one Kodiak four-wheeler, one Hondafour-wheeler and three trailers. He said that does not include theones that will be recovered by Monday afternoon.