Coastal lawmaker's truck stolen, quickly recovered

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — A Gulf Coast lawmaker’s truck was stolen from a Jackson barbecue restaurant Thursday, but police recovered it minutes later.

Rep. John Read, R-Gautier, was so happy with the quick action that he brought a dozen Jackson Police Department officers to the Capitol to publicly thank them.

Read said he was having lunch at Chimneyville Smokehouse, not far from the Capitol, when he saw someone drive off with his Ford F-250 pickup.

“I looked up and I said, ‘That’s my truck and it’s leaving and I’m not in it,” Read said. “I did what any dumb person would do. I just stood there.”

Read said the restaurant owner helped him call police and officers swung into action, even using a helicopter to help track the vehicle. Read said they recovered it within 15 minutes, before the thief even had time to change the radio station. The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported that Read said police arrested a suspect.

Read told the newspaper he had parked the truck on the street while running late and left the keys in it.

Read is a longtime coast resident and former mayor of Gautier, but he went to middle school and high school in Jackson. He said police are often criticized and he wanted to recognize them for a job well done.

The officers received a standing ovation from House members. Lee Vance, assistant chief of Jackson police, thanked lawmakers for their applause.

“Law enforcement, in general, is a thankless job, particularly here in Jackson,” Vance said. “You just get criticized, demonized and every other thing.”

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