St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office divers find stolen items in canal
FRANKLIN, La. — St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office divers recovered nearly $4,000 in stolen property from the Yokely Canal in Franklin earlier this month. They arrested a Franklin man Monday on several charges in connection with the thefts.
Damien A. Hale, 23, of the 200 block of Cedar Street in Franklin was arrested on warrants for simple burglary, two counts of felony theft, two counts of theft and possession of stolen things, Sheriff Mark Hebert said.
The investigation began on Aug. 26 when the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office received three reports of stolen property from the Franklin area, Hebert said. Detectives identified Hale as a suspect and issued an advisory to neighboring agencies.
On Aug. 30, Hale was arrested by Berwick police and held on a probation violation on charges unrelated to the sheriff’s office investigation.
Detectives located Hale’s pickup truck in the Patterson area. Hebert said while searching in the vicinity of the vehicle, detectives discovered numerous items hidden in the nearby tree line, including fishing gear and tools. The recovered items matched descriptions of items reported stolen, he said.
As the investigation continued, detectives received information that Hale also discarded stolen property in the Yokely Canal in Franklin. Utilizing the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Division dive team Sept. 4, detectives recovered more tools and items that were reported stolen. Divers also recovered a shotgun from the canal. Detectives are working to identify the owner of the gun.
More than $4,000 in property was recovered, and most of the stolen property has been returned to its owners.
The investigation is ongoing. Detectives linked Hale to a fourth theft and believe that there may be additional victims who have not yet been identified, Hebert said.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 337-828-1960 or 985-384-1622.