The Louisiana State Police reported that a multiagency investigation involving the Mississippi Agricultural Theft Bureau (MATB), Albany Police Department, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and Louisiana State Police Region 1 detectives resulted in the arrest of two suspects charged with the possession of $250,000 in stolen equipment from the Mississippi area.
Approximately two weeks ago, the MATB notified Louisiana State Police Region 1 detectives that stolen John Deere tractors, zero-turn mowers, trucks, and trailers taken from several John Deere dealerships were possibly being transported to Louisiana.
Through a joint investigation with the Albany Police Department, detectives discovered that Homer G. Hess of Kentwood was attempting to sell some of the stolen equipment. Detectives then arranged a meeting with Hess through an undercover agent at which time he agreed to meet them in the Albany area to sell a mower.
The LSP said Hess arrived at the meeting driving a Chevrolet pickup truck, pulling a 25 foot gooseneck trailer loaded with a Yamaha Grizzly 4-wheeler, a Yamaha Rhino, and a John Deere Zero-Turn Mower. The truck and trailer had been stolen from Rayville, La., and the Grizzly, Rhino and John Deere were stolen from a John Deere Dealership in Magnolia, Ark., the night before. Detectives also discovered a cache of burglary tools in the cab of the Chevrolet truck.
Hess and his accomplice Devon Lipson of Jackson, Miss., were arrested and charged with possession of the stolen property. Hess and Lipson led authorities to several locations in Livingston Parish, La., and in the towns of Hazelhurst and Jackson, Miss. While searching a location in Jackson, agents from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation apprehended a third suspect, Steve Ginter, who detectives suspect is the leader of the theft ring.
Hess and Lipson were booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on five counts each of Possession of Stolen Property. Hess was additionally charged with one count of Possession of Schedule 1 CDS.
Total equipment recovered throughout the investigation includes three John Deere tractors with front end loaders, a Massey Ferguson tractor, three John Deere zero-turn mowers, a Mack tow truck, a Chevrolet 1 ton truck, a 25ft gooseneck flatbed trailer, a 2006 Nissan Maxima, a Yamaha Grizzly 4-wheeler, and a Yamaha Rhino. The estimated value of the recovered items is $250,000.
The investigation is ongoing with more stolen property yet to be recovered. Anyone with further information or suspecting to have purchased any stolen property should contact Louisiana State Police Region 1 Detectives at 985-543-4198.
Source: Louisiana State Police, www.lsp.org
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