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Deputies resolve stolen metal, arson cases

Deputies and investigators with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department have resolved two cases of stolen metal and an arson case and arrested several suspects.

The first incident of metal theft took place sometime between Jan. 19 or Jan. 20, where the owner of D&M Trailer on Miss. 43 N. reported that someone had stolen power cables from 90 of the travel trailers he had stationed there for sale, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.

Tucker said the estimated cost to replace those copper power cables was about $3,602, and that cost does not include tax or the cost of labor to install those cables in the trailers. Investigation into the case included a community tip that led the investigator to a scrap yard. Evidence found at the scrap yard led investigators to arrest two suspects, 32 year-old Jessie Mutz of 38 Panther Circle and 22 year-old Cody A. Pierce of 234 Richardson Road, the chief deputy said. Tucker said Mutz was arrested on March 30, and Pierce was arrested on April 4. Both charged with one count each of grand larceny, and since the investigation is ongoing, they could face additional charges for other thefts, he said.

Another incident of stolen metal involved the theft of an aluminum boat, which was reported stolen on April 20. Tucker said the victim stated that he believed the boat had been stolen between April 19 or 20. Sgt. Danny Slade began working on the case the day it was called in. Part of that investigation involved calling local scrap yards to see if any had received a boat fitting that description, the chief deputy said. Tucker said Pearl River Scrap told Slade that they did receive such a boat that same day. Records at the scarp yard indicated that 17 year-old Peter Youngblood of 29 Hawthorne Dr., sold the boat the yard, implicating him as being responsible for the theft, Tucker said. He said Youngblood was charged with grand larceny, which is a felony.

Tucker said local scrap yards have been cooperative in investigations of stolen metal.

“They help us quite a bit on cases, and this is one of those instances,” Tucker said.

A man also was recently charged with arson, the chief deputy said. Tucker said the incident occurred on April 14, at a home in the 200 block of Whitesand Road. He said a visitor to the home arrived at about 11 p.m. to find that rear of the trailer at that address was on fire, particularly on the skirting. The visitor was able to extinguish the fire after notifying the family inside the home of the fire, Tucker said.

Later, a suspect was spotted in the area of the home and was identified as 46 year-old Donald Ray Loper of 8 Loper Lane, Tucker said. He said investigation into the case collected enough evidence to arrest Loper the next day for the charge of arson. Tucker said he could not say what Loper’s motive was for the alleged arson, but did say that Loper is a suspect in several other fires in the area.