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Fourth arrest made in rash of ATV thefts

Another man is in jail in relation to an ATV theft ring thatLincoln County Sheriff’s Department officials are saying spans 11jurisdictions and more than 20 open cases.

Sheriff Steve Rushing said after the arrest late last week ofKevin Johnson of Natchez, age and address unavailable, four menhave now been arrested in what he said is one of the biggest theftrings he’s seen in his time in law enforcement.

“As far as value-wise, this is one of the largest theft casesI’ve seen,” he said.

Forty-one stolen ATVs, lawnmowers, trailers and other automotivecommodities with a total value of more than $410,000 have beenrecovered in the probe, which was kicked into motion when DarinMcCoy, 34, of Natchez, was arrested in late March in Columbia whileallegedly trying to steal a riding lawn mower.

Information gleaned from McCoy’s statements led to the March 25arrest of local men Jamie Lee Loving, 40, of 340 Dry Creek Road,and Lester Dale Perry, 36, of 449 Jackson Liberty Dr.

Rushing said the investigation has involved the MississippiBureau of Investigation and the Agriculture Theft Bureau as well asauthorities from Columbia, Franklin County, Hattiesburg, Natchez,Adams County and other bureaus. Rushing said at this pointinvestigators have located all the stolen merchandise they’ve beentold about.

“At this point these are all the ones we’re aware of, butthey’re still working on stuff over in the Natchez area, trying torecover some more stuff over there,” Rushing said Monday. “But I’mhoping to pick up the last one stolen from Lincoln County thismorning. That’s all the ones we’re aware of that were taken fromLincoln County.”

There is still one ATV stolen within the city limits ofBrookhaven that is unaccounted for, Rushing said. Some of thevehicles were stolen from private citizens and some were stolenfrom dealers.

The merchandise has been recovered from as far away as Texas andLouisiana.

Rushing said charges are still pending on the four men, but theywill all definitely face multiple counts ranging from grand larcenyto possession of stolen property to sale of stolen property.

“Each of these four will have multiple counts when we getthrough,” he said. “We’re just grateful we’re getting all ourproperty back, and we’re still trying to locate the one here in thecity, as well as still hoping to help the other districts.”