After town generator, 500-gallon propane tank stolen Mississippi mayor wants answers, plans to prevent future thefts

Published 2:53 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

After nearly $36,000 of equipment — including a generator and 500-gallon propane tank — were stolen, Mississippi Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants answers and a plan to avoid future thefts.

The Vicksburg Mayor and Board of and Aldermen on Monday declared an emergency to replace a generator that was allegedly stolen in May along with a 500-gallon propane tank from the city’s Castle Alley communications tower at a cost of $35,869.

Pursuant to that decision, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he wants to know what’s being done to locate and recover the old machine and arrest the thieves, and what’s planned to avoid the theft of the new one.

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The generator, which provides emergency power to the communications tower, was last seen on May 18 when a city safety crew inspected it. Safety director Steve Williams reported it stolen to the board on May 25.

“I need a follow-up on the investigation; that’s a lot of money to walk away and nobody investigate thoroughly and create a policy (to protect the new machine) going forward,” Flaggs said after the meeting. “I want to know where they’re at now and their policy to prevent it from happening again beyond just cameras.”

Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones told Flaggs at Monday’s meeting the theft remains under investigation and officers are reviewing video of the area, adding, “We don’t know when it was actually taken.”

Jones suggested the city install cameras on the property but said city employees have access to the property and enter and leave continuously.

Williams added that the city, private companies and three other people use the tower and have access to it.

“So what’s the camera for? Beautification?” Flaggs asked.

Jones said the camera would allow police to see who comes on the property, identify companies on the site and watch the generator.

Williams said vehicle maintenance employees could install GPS tracking devices on the new generator to help locate it if it is taken.

“It’s just a remote location, that’s it,” Williams said.

“I just think for $35,000 we ought to have some plan of action and I’m not hearing that,” Flaggs said. “Won’t somebody present to this board a plan of action that represents a preventive measure?

“I just think that it is important that when these things happen that we make preparations for the future and make sure that we have preventive measures; a plan of action.”