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Stolen fishing poles lead to arrests

Monday, July 11, 2022 - A Sallisaw man pleaded not guilty to a charge of knowingly receiving or concealing stolen property, a felony, court records show.

Jacob Cruz, 24, could face up to five years in prison if he is convicted.

According to court documents, on July 3, a Sequoyah County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the Applegate Cove Campground to speak with a man about some fishing poles that had been stolen out of his truck.

When the deputy arrived, he spoke with John Bentley, who told him he had gone to his truck and noticed the poles were missing. He said he walked around the campground and even asked other campers if they had seen them. Bentley gave the deputy photos of the missing poles.

Later on July 3, the same deputy was dispatched to the Sallisaw McDonald’s in reference to a black Chevrolet Suburban with fishing poles sticking out the rear driver’s side window. Another deputy had already made contact with the four people in the Suburban, identified as Cruz, Mason Yahola, Nathaniel Hensley and Ronnie Hensley.

Ronnie Hensley, who was driving the Suburban, said the men were wanting to go fishing and that Mason and Nathaniel Hensley went into the garage and got the poles and put them in his Suburban. Ronnie Hensley said he dropped the two off at the Kerr Lock and Dam on his way to church and to see his daughter.

Ronnie Hensley said he returned to pick up the men about 12:25 p.m. after church. Driving back, he said, a man in a black truck was driving beside him on South Highway 59. The truck’s driver pointed and told Hensley to pull over and that’s when the deputy arrived. The fishing poles matched those that had been stolen from Bentley. Cruz told deputies he’d had the poles for more than a year but Bentley was able to identify them as his own.

Cruz, Nathaniel Hensley and Mason Yahola were arrested.

Andrea Adams, Staff Writer

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