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WWLTV.com
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HAMMOND -- The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office arrested several men Friday in connection with a slew of Hammond area car and firearm thefts dating back to May.

The sheriff's office said they arrested 33-year-old Kevin Gales, the alleged ring leader of the car thefts, and three other men in connection with the thefts. Deputies said after getting search warrants for several Hammond area places, deputies found several stolen items, including a bullet proof vest and ammo.

In the early morning hours of July 15, police stopped a dark green Saturn at the intersection of University and Oak streets in Hammond. Police said Gales was driving the vehicle and after searching Gales' vehicle, officers found four stolen guns. Two of the guns were reported stolen from a marked police unit on July 9.

Police said Gales was known to have associates in the car theft scheme in the Hammond area, so they acquired search warrants for several residences in the area. Upon searching Gales' home in the 19000 block of County View Circle, officers found several stolen items, including a bullet proof vest and ammo.

Police said some of the stolen items linked back open cases as far back as May.

The sheriff's office said Kevin Gales and 50-year-old Garvey Newman, both of Hammond, were charged with four counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, four counts of felony possession and two counts of felony possession of stolen property.

Cody Austin and Khalil Franklin, both 18 and of Hammond, were charged with four counts of felony possession and two counts of felony possession of stolen property.

Deputies said more charges are expected to come for the four people arrested.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said the investigation was on-going after there were nearly a dozen car thefts reported from the area of Old Covington Highway to River Road, even stretching into the City of Hammond.

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