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Florida restaurant owner arrested for stealing John Deere tractors in Mississippi, selling them for profit

Mike Cosse
Photo courtesy of the Santa Rosa County, Florida Sheriff's Office

A Florida restaurant owner has been taken into custody for allegedly stealing John Deere tractors and skid steers throughout Mississippi and selling them for profit.

The Mississippi Agriculture and Livestock Theft Bureau (MALTB) assisted the Santa Rosa County, Florida Sheriff’s Office in arresting 52-year-old suspect Mike Cosse. Sources in the Florida panhandle confirm to SuperTalk Mississippi News that the suspect is a Southern Miss grad and the owner of local restaurants, Cosse’s Place and Cosse’s Corner Shack, in Milton.

An investigation of multiple thefts of agriculture equipment throughout the Magnolia State led to Cosse as a primary suspect. MALTB investigators contacted authorities in Santa Rosa County to inform them of a Milton resident who is a suspect in an ongoing investigation in Mississippi.

Cosse's Corner Shack
Cosse’s Corner Shack
(submitted photo)

Cosse was arrested on Friday, March 1. He is believed to have made over $100,000 selling stolen equipment in November and December 2023. Cosse was released from Santa Rosa County Jail on a $182,000 bond.

So far, according to the Pensacola News Journal, the current charges Cosse faces are:

  • Six counts of using a two-way device to facilitate a felony — a third-degree felony
  • Five counts of dealing in stolen property — a second-degree felony
  • One county of fraudulently obtaining property worth $50,000 or more — a first-degree felony
  • Six counts of forgery by removing ID marks from personal property — a first-degree misdemeanor
  • One count of grand theft of $20,000 or more — a second-degree felony

The Florida newspaper reports that Cosse claimed to have sold all the equipment under the guise that he had gotten items damaged, but salvaged all of the equipment. That was his justification to sell all of the items at prices below retail value.

Police noted that the manufacturer’s serial numbers and VINs used to identify tractors and equipment had been destroyed or removed by the suspect.

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