Deputies working on Stolen batteries case

Published 4:39 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby has asked property and farm owners to take inventory of equipment and tools usually stored in shops and outbuildings during the winter months after deputies arrested a Sardis man in possession of a large number of stolen batteries.

Darby said the department received reports of two break-ins last month involving large batteries for 18-wheel trucks and agricultural machinery. Investigators Bryan Arnold and Terry Smith worked the cases and learned the name of a suspect who had offered the same kinds of batteries for sale at various places in Batesville and Sardis.

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Before he could be located, two more shops were burglarized and more batteries taken. The deputies located Richard Griffin, 45, of 6809 Barnacre Rd., and questioned him about the batteries he had allegedly sold. Darby said Griffin admitted the thefts, and has cooperated to some extent with authorities.

Semi-truck batteries and those for tractors, combines and other harvesting equipment are significantly larger than passenger vehicle batteries and often cost several hundred dollars when purchased new.

The investigators said as farmers and other large landowners have begun to start spring operations, more have reported batteries missing from large trucks and equipment. “We really need everybody to check all their things and let us know what is missing from the shops and big sheds. Right now we really don’t know how big this case is going to get, but we want to get as much of the stolen property returned as we can.”

“Most of these burglaries were in the west Panola County and the investigators feel like that’s where people may have been victims and not know it yet,” Darby said.

In addition to multiple burglary charges, Griffin was also charged with false pretense for allegedly taking payment for truck repairs that were not completed. Anyone wanting to report stolen items relating to this case should contact Investigators Arnold or Smith by calling the Sheriff’s Dept. at 563-6230.