Meridian Star

March 6, 2013

Firefighting equipment recovered

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Some vital equipment used by volunteer firefighters was recovered Monday in Alabama and returned to Lauderdale County.

    According to Ward Calhoun, chief deputy with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, investigators with the LCSD were in York, Alabama Monday assisting authorities with the 17th Judicial Court District Task Force and other agencies in executing a search warrant on a location. Calhoun said several items, including firefighting equipment that was reportedly stolen from the Alamucha and Center Ridge volunteer fire departments were discovered.

    Among the items brought back were self contained breathing apparatuses, axes and generators in addition to turnout gear.

    Authorities said Tuesday several arrests were made during the recent operation in York. The names of those arrested is being withheld until formal charges can be filed. The investigation is ongoing.

    Upon hearing of the recovery of the equipment, Allan Dover, coordinator for the Lauderdale County Fire Service, said anything that could be returned to the county would be helpful.

    "We have already purchased new equipment to replace what was stolen," said Dover. "We couldn't wait for the equipment to be found because we had to provide firefighters turnout gear and air tanks to do their jobs with. We didn't know how long it would take to get the equipment back."

    Jonathan L. Price, 27, of Meridian, was taken into custody Dec. 20, 2012 in connection with the initial incidents. He was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property. Price was placed on $10,000 bond for each charge.

    A second suspect, Dustin Curtis Stokley Jr. was also being sought in connection with the incidents. He was able to elude authorities in York shortly after Christmas by stealing a police cruiser of the York Police Department. He wrecked the vehicle and fled into a wooded area. Stokley has since been arrested and is in jail in Anniston, Alabama. Lauderdale County officials have yet to get Stokley back into Mississippi to face charges here.