HAMMOND, LA – June 26, 2020 – Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards reports that the results from a multijurisdictional joint investigation leads to the recovery of stolen property.
On June 22,2020, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office to begin a joint investigation into the theft of two Kubota tractors that were taken from a job-site on Hwy 16, just outside of Amite and near the Tangipahoa Parish and St. Helena Parish line in the late evening hours of June 21st.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the tractors were originally stolen from a location in St. Helena Parish, driven through Tangipahoa Parish, and were possibly located in a wooded area near a residence in Gillsburg, Mississippi.
With coordinated efforts and assistance of Mississippi authorities, the Amite County Sheriff's Office, and the United States Customs and Border Patrol, detectives were able to identify a target search area and utilize air support from the United States Customs and Border Patrol to narrow down their search area.
As a result of the air search, one of the stolen tractors was spotted and identified at a residence on Jimmy Wall Lane in Osyka, Mississippi. While the air search was being conducted, detectives observed a male subject get on the tractor and proceed to drive it deeper and deeper into the heavily wooded area.
On June 25, 2020, the Amite County Sheriff's Office obtained and executed a search warrant for the property. Authorities from all agencies were present and participated in the execution of said warrant.
As a result, the tractor identified by air support was located and recovered. Shortly thereafter, the second tractor was located/recovered hidden inside of a metal barn on the property. Detectives also recovered several other items that were reported stolen as a result of the search.
The Amite County Sheriff's Office arrested Melanie Gene Southard, 43 years old, from Buckholts, Texas for Possession of Stolen Property.
The investigation remains on-going. Additional charges and/or arrests are expected.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office expresses our appreciation to all agencies involved in this investigation."It was an enormous group effort that had great end results," Sheriff Edwards states.