Arrest Made, Ring Suspected In October Vehicle Theft In WV
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WATER VALLEY – A Ridgeland man has been charged with uttering forgery after allegedly using a fraudulent check to purchase a vehicle in Water Valley in October. Yalobusha County Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch reported Elisha Lindsey is currently in custody in the Yalobusha County Detention Center and is suspected to be part of a multi-state ring of thieves making similar fraudulent transactions.
“The vehicle was obtained by false pretenses, and there are investigations underway by multiple agencies in at least two states connected to this ring,” Gooch reported.
Lindsey of Ridgeland and Tre Vaughn Railey of Alabama allegedly used a bogus $39,000 cashier’s check to purchase a black 2015 Jeep SRT owned by a Water Valley man on October 11. The pair met the Jeep owner in the Shell station on Frostland Drive.
Gooch reported the break in the case came on December 9 when officers with the Ridgeland Police Department contacted him to report that the stolen Jeep had been recovered. The Jeep was in the impound yard and detectives with the Ridgeland Police Department set up a sting, luring the men to pick up the stolen Jeep the next day.
“The Jeep had a different tag on it, and apparently Lindsey and Railey were not aware that the Ridgeland Police Department knew it was stolen,” Gooch explained.
Ironically a series of events led to the impoundment after a repossession agent had a hit on the switched tag that was on the Jeep and discovered the VIN number didn’t match the tag. The VIN number led to the discovery that the Jeep had been reported stolen, and the repo agent contacted the Ridgeland Police Department.
Linking The Suspects To Water Valley
Ridgeland police sent pictures of Lindsey and Railey to the sheriff’s department, and Gooch reported they were able to identify them as the suspects in the October 11 incident in Water Valley.
“The victim in Water Valley was a little suspicious and took pictures of the two men and the vehicle they were in,” Gooch added. “He had a similar experience before.”
Soon after the transaction, the victim discovered the check was bogus and contacted the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department. The pictures taken by the victim were posted on the sheriff department’s social media pages to solicit information from the public about the case.
“We had a similar victim in Carroll County reach out to us after seeing the Facebook Post. She was able to identify the men and the car they were driving. They had used a fraudulent check to purchase her Honda Accord and were driving it when they came to Water Valley to purchase the Jeep,” Gooch continued about the saga.
The case went cold after that until earlier this month when the Jeep was discovered in Ridgeland.
Railey has not been charged in the Water Valley case yet.
“We will present that to the grand jury, Railey will first be extradited to Tuscaloosa County, Ala. on an arrest warrant for possession of a forged instrument,” Gooch said.
The sheriff said others could be charged in connection with the investigation.
Other activity reported by the sheriff includes:
• Isaiah Mister of Coffeeville was arrested on December 6 on County Road 470 for fleeing, child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle. Mister fled from authorities after an attempted traffic stop. Gooch said the pursuit was brief, as Mister drove to his residence.
• Skyzic Haire of Water Valley was arrested for trespassing on December 8.
• Michael Lee Thomas of Grenada was arrested outside of Coffeeville on December 20 for burglary of a vehicle and possession of a stolen firearm. Gooch reported deputies had received multiple reports about a suspicious person living in his vehicle in different areas around Coffeeville.
“We have been trying to catch up with him,” Gooch explained. “When they talked to him Tuesday, they searched his vehicle and discovered a pistol with the serial number scratched off.”
Thomas admitted to breaking in the vehicle and took the deputy to the location where he had taken the gun.
“The owner was able to describe the firearm that was stolen. There were two firearms that were stolen, one from inside the house and one from the vehicle,” Gooch added.
Thomas was charged with possession of a stolen firearm and burglary of a vehicle. He is currently in custody in the Yalobusha County Detention Center.
• Timothy Dowdle of Water Valley was arrested for a warrant on Hwy. 7 on December 17.
• Wesley Thomas Hughes was arrested on a warrant for the sale of methamphetamine on December 15.
• Orlando Hall was arrested on December 13 on a capias for the sale of methamphetamine. The capias was issued after Hall was indicted by the grand jury on December 1.
• Leroy Boles was arrested on December 12 on a capias for the sale of methamphetamine. The capias was issued after Boles was indicted by the grand jury on December 1. Boles was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and felony DUI by the Water Valley Police Department (see related story, page A1.)