Stolen items found in investigations by Sheriff’s Department

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

Two recent cases of stolen property worked by the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department led to the arrest of the “victim” in the first case and the arrest of a man alleged to be operating a chop shop in the second.
Chief Investigator Marc Ogden said the first case began as a report of a stolen Honda side by side. After receiving the complaint on May 7, investigators headed to the home of the complainant, 34-year-old Dwight Crawford, of 267 Old Creek Road. A report of Crawford’s complaint stated the last time he saw the vehicle was two days prior, but didn’t notice it missing until the 7th.
As investigation began, officers discovered a neighbor’s house had surveillance cameras, Ogden said. After obtaining a copy of the footage from the cameras over the previous three days, the footage showed Crawford leave his home pulling a trailer with the alleged stolen vehicle in tow on May 6. A half an hour later Crawford returned, but the vehicle was no longer on the trailer, Ogden said.
When investigators confronted him with the evidence, Crawford denied involvement in the vehicle being missing.
“Our concern was that he falsely reported a grand larceny and filed an insurance claim stating it was stolen,” Ogden said.
Further investigation led to Crawford’s arrest for attempted insurance fraud and false reporting of a crime and a subsequent interview with Crawford led to his admission that he dismantled the vehicle and discarded the pieces in various places, Ogden said.
Crawford is currently out on a $5,000 bond.
Another case began as a request from the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Department to provide assistance in an investigation into a stolen vehicle out of their jurisdiction. Armed with the address and name of a possible suspect, the two departments headed to the home of 45-year-old Billy Granger Jr. of 450 Frank Smith Rd., Poplarville. Ogden said when the investigators arrived, they noticed a vehicle that looked similar to the one reported stolen, so they asked for consent to look at it, which was granted.
While that vehicle was not the one they were looking for, the investigators noticed a large amount of vehicle parts on the property, including frames, rims, tires and other parts, all from various makes and models, Ogden said.
When asked where he obtained the parts, Granger said he purchased them from “some place in New Orleans,” Ogden said. When the vehicle identification number for one of the frames was run through the national crime information center, it came back as stolen from a local mechanic’s shop in 2015.
That evidence allowed the investigators to obtain a search warrant. Ogden said that in the search investigators found the frame of a stripped U-Haul vehicle, a U-Haul car hauler, skid steer case and a Nissan car, all of which had been reported stolen. The Nissan had apparently been reported as stolen back in 2006 from New Orleans, while the U-Haul items were stolen out of Hattiesburg in 2014.
Investigators also found parts that related to Washington Parish’s case in the search, Ogden said.
Crawford was arrested under the motor vehicle chop shop, stolen and altered property act, Ogden said. He is currently out on a $15,000 bond.

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