HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The evidence storage at the Hancock County Sheriff's Department looks like a store showroom these days. Authorities have recovered thousands of dollars in home appliances stolen from vacant homes or rental properties in Hancock and Harrison counties.
"It's an extremely large burglary. I haven't worked a burglary as big as this one," Investigator Brandon Normand said. "We have recovered over 47 appliances, and we are looking into recovering about 20 or 30 more appliances."
Normand said the evidence points to one man: 41-year-old Larry Baum. Authorities believe he organized the thefts, posing as a real estate employee, and hiring workers to remove washers and dryers, stoves and microwaves, dishwashers and refrigerators.
"We have the belief that they are all under the impression that they had been lied to by Mr. Baum, and that was they were doing was not stealing. They were doing work."
"They were some what conned by Mr. Baum," Investigator Andre Fizer added.
Authorities said Baum had work crews stealing appliances from homes in Hancock and Harrison Counties.
"Most of these items actually taken before noon in the broad daylight," Normand said. "There were several areas where neighbors were out on the porch, waved at the subjects that was actually removing the property from the homes."
Investigators said some of the appliances had already been sold, possibly to unsuspecting homeowners.
"We don't want anyone to be in possession of stolen property," Normand said.
Investigators said Baum will be charged with burglary, possession of stolen property, as well as other charges for master minding the elaborate crime.