Four-wheeler thefts are on the rise in Laurel and Jones counties, and investigators are trying to break up a suspected crime ring believed to be responsible for stealing them. After the most recent robbery on December 16, law enforcement is asking everyone to be careful.
Thieves hit Proflow Motorsports and stole a pair of four-wheelers, but the theft from the Jones County business was far from the only one.
“This is a really big investigation with a lot of working parts because it’s spread out,” Laurel Police Detective Brad Anderson said. “We strongly urge the community to lock up their ATVs and anything else because (thieves) will take it. Pay attention to your communities because they will drive by and see those ATVs and come back and get it that night.”
LPD is looking for several suspects, but they are unable to identify them. (Videos of the suspects are available at leader-call.com). LPD has made arrests, but suspects are still at large.
In July, a side by side was stolen from Honda of Laurel, which is also believed to be related to the current thefts in the area.
Ivan Smith, 35, and Javon Grayson, 21, were arrested in connection with the commercial burglary last week, but the extent of their involvement is unclear, officials said. They are believed to be somehow connected to the incidents, but investigators have not yet identified their relationship or any connection.
Smith was arrested on a commercial burglary charge at 12:09 a.m. Wednesday and charged with giving false information to law enforcement.
Grayson was arrested on Dec. 23 for burglary and has since been released.
Grayson was arrested earlier this year on felony charges in the party shooting in May.
LPD is working with JCSD to identify the extent of ATV thefts.
“Tracking four-wheeler thefts is really difficult because a lot of times the victims don’t have (Vehicle Identification Numbers) for the four-wheeler,” said JCSD Investigator Sgt. JD Carter. “We’re looking at a lot of connections to these burglaries from here in Jones County to burglaries in Harrison County with similarities. So with so much stealth in such a large area and the ATV’s ability to hide easily makes it very difficult to track them down.
“Once they’re stolen, they take at least one more round. I was told that if you find an ATV in the same place where it was stolen, then you are very lucky.”
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department reported 12 ATVs stolen in 2022