Radio theft arrest made

Published 12:13 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

NATCHEZ — A second suspect was arrested Wednesday for allegedly using stolen radio equipment to monitor police communications.

Vernon E. White, 834 U.S. 3009, St. Joseph. La., was arrested on multiple charges — namely for using allegedly stolen sheriff’s office radios for alerting area felons of police activity.

White’s arrest follows Ashley Carnigy, 33, who was arrested Monday on similar charges.

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Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Vernon Stevens said Wednesday law enforcement officials were led to White because he was living with Carnigy.

“I would assume they were dating,” Stevens said.

Inside Carnigy’s residence, Stevens said law enforcement officials found stolen radio equipment, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Concordia Parish Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the CPSO first became aware of missing radios when they did their audit approximately a year ago.

“That’s when we talked to the sheriff’s department about an investigation,” Ferrington said. “We knew there were at least two radios missing.”

White’s father, Vernon White Sr., was previously the parish’s director of homeland security, Ferrington said.

Ferrington speculated Vernon White Jr. could have gained access to the radio equipment while he volunteered with parish law enforcement.

“He was helping his daddy in some of the emergency stuff at the time,” said Ferrington, adding that the homeland security director is in charge of accounting for radio equipment.

Payne Scott, who replaced Vernon White Sr. after he retired, said the system of checking out police radios is a tight one — and he was surprised to hear radios were able to slip through the cracks.

“We have them under lock and key,” Scott said. “We keep a paper trail of all the officers who check them out.”

Scott said the radios aren’t cheap either.

Ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 each, the radios are used for a wide range of purposes, he said.

“They’re there for safety,” Scott said. “If there were ever any kind of disaster, we would need those to communicate.”

Since Carnigy and White’s arrests, Scott said the department has recovered all three radios.