3 arrested for Fairgrounds truck theft

3 arrested for Fairgrounds truck theft


Three people have been arrested and charged in connection with the theft of a truck from the Neshoba County Fairgrounds that is connected to multiple burglaries with further charges potentially pending, Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said.

Braden Robert Townsend, 18, of Philadelphia was arrested and charged with felony taking of a motor vehicle, burglary of a dwelling and three counts of burglary of a vehicle.

Tayler Morris, 21, of 13588 Highway 491 was arrested and charged with two counts of auto burglary and felony theft of a motor vehicle.

Clark said a juvenile has been connected to this case and authorities have not yet picked him up.  

Deputies responded to initial reports of a stolen truck at the Fairgrounds on July 23. Shelby Brantley of Jackson reported his truck was stolen from the Fairgrounds. At least two friends of his reported their trucks had been broken into as well.

“Where the hell is my truck,” Brantley said he recalled thinking when he couldn't find his vehicle. He said his first instinct was that someone was playing a joke on him and had moved the vehicle. Brantley said he and a friend drove around for some time before calling the Sheriff’s Office.

Brantley’s truck is a 2022 White GMC Sierra. Clark said the thieves gained access to the truck after taking a handgun, a wallet and Brantley’s key fab from one of the vehicles they broke into.

Clark said a breakthrough came in the case when Neshoba County Fair security witnessed Morris and the juvenile breaking into another vehicle parked at the Fairgrounds late in the evening on July 28. He said his office was quickly notified and made the arrest.

Clark said they were found to be in possession of two stolen handguns. The juvenile was released into the custody of the Choctaw Police Department.

An interview with Morris identified Townsend as an accomplice. He would be arrested on July 29 at a home where he was staying at the intersection of Road 2606 and Road 157 behind the Pow Wow. 

Clark said Townsend had hidden the stolen truck in the woods on a logging trail at Bogue Chitto. The truck sustained “a small amount of damage,” Clark said.

“We have recovered the truck and returned it to a very happy truck owner,” Clark said.

Brantley said he was thankful to the Sheriff’s Department for finding his vehicle.

“Kudos to them,” He said. “They were super helpful and really put in the work to find it.”

Townsend has since been connected to a vehicle burglary reported at the Golden Moon Casino on July 27 and a house burglary just up the road from where he was arrested on July 19.

In both incidents, a handgun was taken. Clark said a shotgun, an Xbox, nine games and two controllers were taken from the robbery of the home.

Clark said they have recovered everything taken from the house except for the handgun. Clark said that among the three suspects they have two handguns that they cannot currently connect to a specific incident or owner and that further charges may be pending as they investigate the origins of those two guns.

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