Four individuals have been with grand larceny after allegedly stealing from a private dirt pit near Highway 26. So far, three have been arrested and one suspect is still at large.
The Stone County Sheriff’s Department responded to a resident who said she noticed several pieces of equipment had been moved around her property. After investigating the crime scene, the officers determined the equipment had been used to steal between $7,000 and $10,000 worth of scrap metal and equipment from the property owner, Kathy Purvis.
The individuals are believed to have stolen a variety of missing items including several vehicles, some water tanks, and other heavy metal and aluminum objects.
An anonymous tip led SCSD Capt. Amanda Schonewitz to obtain a search warrant for the home of Billy Perniciaro at 235 Smith Town Road where four suspects are being charged in connection with the theft.
On Friday, the SCSD arrested 21-year-old McHenry resident Dylan Chase Diamond, and Wiggins residents 27-year-old Hope Bennett, 46-year-old Billy Perniciaro, and Trevor Perniciaro. Trevor is the son of Billy and is still at large.
U.S. Marshalls are assisting the SCSD in the search. He is suspected to be in the Waveland or Bay St. Louis area where he has relatives.
All four are being charged with grand larceny related to thefts from the dirt pit site. Trevor and Bennett also face additional charges of failure to comply for running away from officers.
Billy Perniciaro’s girlfriend, Tabitha Malley, was at home when officers served the search warrant.
Schonewitz said Malley tried to keep officers from searching the home.
Once law enforcement completed the search, officers discovered a stash of controlled substances.
Schonewitz said it was stated the drugs belonged to Malley and Billy. Both were charged with possession of a controlled substance and taken into custody. Malley later bonded out and returned to the home.
The following Wednesday on July 21, Malley was arrested and charged again for possession of a controlled substance after officers discovered more drugs at the residence, officers said.
Schonewitz said the Perniciaro family was already suspected of being linked to other scrap metal thefts based on information from other law enforcement agencies and multiple criminal records.
Officers discovered copper wiring in a car trunk at the home. The car allegedly belongs to Bennett and Trevor Perniciaro.
In July, officers responded to the pellet plant and saw a truck with a trailer. Two men ran from the vehicle and were not obtained.
Law enforcement discovered that several people had stolen copper from the pellet plant site on Old Highway 49 sometime during the first week of July. The individuals responsible left around $250,000 worth of damage to the site.
During Billy’s interrogation, Schonewitz asked him if he or his son ever owned a red pickup truck that was connected to a crime scene at the pellet plant earlier this month.
Schonewitz said Billy then admitted the red truck belonged to his father. He said his son, Trevor, had been driving the vehicle.
She said Billy stated that copper found in his son’s car was from the pellet plant.
As of Monday, July 26, Billy’s son Trevor is still at large and wanted.
Please contact the SCSD with any information on his whereabouts.
To remain anonymous call the Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at (877) 787-5898.