City vehicles stolen from Poplarville Thursday

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

As Poplarville Public Works employees reported to work Thursday morning, they found the facility’s back gate damaged and two city trucks and a backhoe missing from the yard.
The Poplarville Police Department received a call in reference to the theft at about 5:30 a.m., leading to an investigation by Chief Butch Raby.
When officers arrived, they noticed the missing backhoe in the city cemetery across the street, Raby said.
Upon inspection, it appeared the suspects damaged and moved several headstones with the backhoe, but a small hole found nearby appeared to have been dug with a shovel, Raby said.
He said he believes the suspects got tired, climbed the fence into the public works yard, retrieved the backhoe but couldn’t figure out how to operate it to finish digging the hole.
From there, the suspects stole a truck from the public works barn and left the immediate area, Raby said.
Later that morning, the department received a call from the Poplarville Lower Elementary School stating a city truck was found on Church Street, Raby said.
Surveillance from the school showed a man and woman exiting the vehicle before fleeing on foot down the street, he said. At that time, Raby said he believes they returned to the facility to retrieve a second truck with more fuel.
Officers retrieved the vehicle, which had no damage, and found a suspect’s driver’s license in the front seat. The license found on the seat belongs to Sean Michael Yesso, 23, of 323 Thames Drive, Slidell, Raby said.
Through further investigation, Raby said he drove to 25430 Karly Drive in Hancock County where he found the other stolen truck with some mechanical and body damage.
Along with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, Raby investigated the property, finding an old, unoccupied and burned residence behind a wooded area. Investigation by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department revealed that Yesso lived at that property at one time. After speaking with Yesso’s family, who said they had not been in contact with him for some time, officers learned Yesso had an aunt living in Poplarville, Raby said.
Poplarville officers were dispatched to the aunt’s home where they discovered Yesso asleep. Before he could be apprehended, he fled out the back door and ran toward the woods, Raby said.
After a short search, officers and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit found Yesso outside a nearby camper. Yesso was taken into custody for three counts of felony theft of a motor vehicle, three counts of conspiracy to take a motor vehicle, one count of desecration of a grave and conspiracy to desecrate a grave, Raby said.
Friday morning, Pearl River County Justice Court Judge Hal Breland set his bond at $95,000, Raby said.
Raby said Yesso is not cooperating with the investigation and it is unclear why he was allegedly digging in the graveyard. The department is still seeking the woman seen in the surveillance video.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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