A Natchez man has been arrested in connection with a series of ATV (all-terrain vehicle) thefts in south Natchitoches Parish according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.
During the month of August, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office received reports of several all-terrain vehicles being stolen in the Cypress, Cloutierville and Derry areas.
Then on Wednesday morning August 24th at approximately 12:46am, NATCOM 911 Center received a report of an all-terrain vehicle being stolen in the 700 block of Cat Island Road in Derry, La.
The complainant (owner of the ATV) told NATCOM 911 operators that he heard his dog barking outside. When he looked outside under his carport he noticed his ATV missing and that he could hear and see the ATV traveling up the street from his residence. The complainant then exited his residence entered his vehicle and chased the suspect and a silver Ford F-250 pickup truck as they were fleeing the area.
The suspect then dumped the ATV near a home on Cat Island Road entered the Ford F-250 and then fled the area towards I-49 where the complainant eventually lost sight of them.
Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Operations Bureau spoke with the complaint, gathered information for an offense report and forwarded the information to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Bureau for investigative purposes.
Deputies and detectives then began talking with various sources and learned that a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect vehicle had been seen in several locations in south Natchitoches Parish.
Detectives learned that the suspect vehicle was believed to be from Natchez and began focusing their investigation in the Natchez area.
Detectives identified a person of interest as 24-year-old Eric Wayne Berryman Jr. of Natchez, La.
During the investigation, detectives discovered a 2015 Honda Rancher in an undisclosed area that had been stripped.
The 2015 Honda Rancher had been stolen from private property on August 15, 2022 in the 1700 block of La. Hwy 495 in Cloutierville, La.
As the investigation progressed, detectives made contact with Berryman and eventually interviewed him at the criminal investigations division.
Detectives learned during the interview that Berryman was allegedly involved in the thefts of all-terrain vehicles on La. Hwy 495 in Cloutierville on August 15, the 100 block of La. Hwy 120 in Cypress on August 7 in which a 2020 Honda Rubicon was stolen and on August 24 in the 700 block of Cat Island Road in Derry where a 2008 Honda Rancher was stolen and the owner chased them.
Detectives executed two search warrants during the investigation.
On September 7 at approximately 9:46am, Eric Wayne Berryman Jr. 24, of Natchez was arrested by NPSO Detectives at the Criminal Investigations Division, transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 3-Counts of Felony Theft.
He has since bonded out pending a court appearance in the 10th Judicial District Court.
Detectives say the investigation is still active an ongoing.
Detectives remind the public that information obtained from sources during these thefts is that criminals are riding around communities in the daytime hours spotting all-terrain vehicles left out in yards or around homes in plain sight then returning late at night stealing the ATV by riding them off because keys were left in them, hot-wiring or pushing them from the property and loading them on a trailer.
Deputies ask that you keep your all-terrain vehicles and other items in a secure well-lit area, monitored by video surveillance if possible and to record all serial numbers in case of theft.
If you observe suspicious activity in your community, something that does not appear right or out of order call the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at 352-6432 or 357-7851. Always provide descriptions of vehicles or persons that may appear to be suspicious when reporting suspicious activity it helps responding deputies with what they are looking for.
If you have any information regarding the theft of all-terrain vehicles or may have purchased all-terrain vehicles from the Natchez area, please contact the lead detective in this investigation.
We would also like to thank concerned citizens who aided and provided valuable information to us during this investigation.