A Natchez man incarcerated in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on unrelated charges has been arrested in connection with a series of thefts on Cane River according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.
During the course of a couple of months beginning in September of 2022, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives began investigating several cases of fishing equipment, and gas being stolen from boats and boat houses mostly in the areas of Plantation Point, Natchez and Bermuda communities on Cane River.
Detectives estimated the value of the stolen property to be approximately $20,000.00.
Sheriff Stuart Wright and the Cane River Waterway Commission began networking and established additional patrols on the river in effort to curb criminal activity.
Detectives continued the investigation by talking with theft victims and other residents along Cane River for over 2 months.
Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Operations Bureau who responded to the initial theft calls were briefed frequently on the cases and what to look for if they encountered any of the items while on patrol.
On Tuesday evening, November 15, Detectives got a break in the case, when NPSO Patrol Deputies were following-up on a domestic abuse investigation and suspicious vehicle complaint in the 700 block of La. Hwy 484 south of Natchez.
NATCOM 911 Center received a call from a homeowner in the 700 block of La. Hwy 484, (near the domestic abuse victim) reporting that a black Ford F-150 was parked on their property without any headlights on.
The Ford F-150 then left quickly traveling westbound on La. Hwy 484.
NPSO Deputies intercepted and stopped the vehicle near the intersections of La. Hwy 484 and La. Hwy 493 in the Melrose community.
Deputies identified the operator of the vehicle as 25-year-old Hunter Ross of Natchez.
The private property owner wished to pursue trespassing charges.
Ross was placed under arrest without incident.
A local wrecker service was contacted to impound the vehicle.
During an inventory of the vehicle, deputies discovered and seized suspected methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a Mossberg 12-gauge pump action shotgun.
Deputies observed, photographed and documented fishing equipment and other items in plain view in the vehicle.
Ross, was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Aggravated Assault of a Dating Partner with Child Endangerment Law, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of a Felony, Possession of CDS Schedule II Narcotics, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Criminal Trespassing and Illegal Possession of a Firearm in the Presence of Narcotics.
Detectives were briefed then began to focus on the Cane River thefts.
On November 16, NPSO Detectives obtained a search warrant signed by a 10th Judicial District Judge to search the vehicle (Ford F-150) impounded at a local towing service.
A search of the vehicle led to the seizure and recovery of one Garmin, and two Lowrance fishfinders that were reported stolen in the Cane River thefts, a bag of suspected methamphetamine, syringes and other drug paraphernalia.
Detectives continued the investigation, executing an additional search warrant signed by a 10th Judicial District Court Judge on Ross’s apartment located on La. Hwy 484 south of Natchez.
During a search of the apartment and exterior curtilage, detectives discovered and seized over 55 rod & reels, several tackle boxes containing fishing lures, fishing nets and other fishing equipment all believed to be stolen.
Detectives also observed a pump installed in Ross’s boat believed to be used for the purposes of siphoning gas from other boats parked along the river.
On November 18 at approximately 4:45pm, NPSO Detectives went to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and arrested Ross on the charges of:
(1). 4-Counts of Theft over $5000 but less than $25,000
(2). 1-Count of Possession of CDS Schedule II Methamphetamine
Ross remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center.
Additional charges may be forthcoming as the investigation progresses.
Detectives believe most of the thefts occurred during the late evening and early morning hours.
Sheriff Wright said we are pleased to have cleared several of these thefts on Cane River. The investigation remains ongoing as we sort through some of the evidence and contact potential owners of the recovered property. Our patrol and criminal investigations division did an outstanding job networking and working with each to solve these cases for residents along the river and others that come to fish along our beautiful Cane River”.
If you had any fishing equipment stolen along Cane River and did not report it, contact the case agent.