Cellphone communication between firefighters accused in a golf cart theft led authorities to search a Harrison County home, where one man was arrested after 60-plus pot plants, $32,000 in cash and several guns were seized, Pass Christian Police Chief Timothy Hendricks said Friday.
Hendricks, however, said the investigation is ongoing and authorities are trying to determine if the firefighters simply communicated with the drug suspect, William Watts, 43, or it had some connection to theft or elaborate marijuana grow house found at Watts' home on Hayes Road in Harrison County.
Watts was arrested on a charge of manufacturing marijuana and is considered a person of interest in the golf cart theft.
"What we do know is there was some kind of ongoing communication with the gentleman (Watts) at that house and the firefighters," Hendricks said Friday. "What that is going to lead to, we just don't know at this point. It's still early in the investigation and we are still checking out every lead."
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Hendricks is asking for the public's help with tips to assist in the ongoing probe that initially resulted in the arrests of Pass Christian firefighters Jason Hair, 37, and Adam Noble, 34, who is also a full-time firefighter in D'Iberville. They were arrested Tuesday in connection with the Sept. 30 theft of a golf cart on Royal Oaks Drive in Pass Christian.
Hair was arrested on charge of grand larceny, and Noble was booked on a charge of receiving stolen property. Both men have been released on bonds set at $10,000 each, but could face additional charges in the case, Hendricks said.
The theft of the golf cart was caught on tape in west Pass Christian. Police said one of the suspects drove a truck and trailer to the Timber Ridge subdivision and loaded up the golf cart. The golf cart was then loaded up and taken to another location. The golf cart has since been recovered.
Hendricks said authorities are working with the Harrison County District Attorney's Office to determine whether they will move forward with additional charges or upgrade any current charges as part of the ongoing probe.
"I'm not going to put out any particulars right now," Hendricks said.
Both firefighters have been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of internal investigations by the cities of Pass Christian and D'Iberville. Noble worked part-time in Pass Christian and full-time in D'Iberville. Hair worked full-time in Pass Christian.
D'Iberville, Waveland and the Long Beach police departments have assisted in the investigation along with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Narcotics Enforcement Team.
Authorities are asking for tips to be called in to the Pass Christian Police Department at 452-3301 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898. In addition, tips can be made on the Pass Christian Police Department's Facebook page.