Local News

Thieves target farm equipment in four counties

Posted August 5, 2009 6:26 p.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2009 6:27 p.m. EDT

Police have arrested seven people they said were connected with two separate theft rings targeting farm equipment in four counties.

There have been 24 cases of stolen farming equipment in Franklin County this year, Sheriff Pat Green said. Investigators believe the suspects also hit farms in Vance, Warren and Wake counties.

“They would basically stay up all day and spot things they want to come back at night and steal,” Green said.

Those arrested from the first theft ring were:

  • Willie Clifton Kearney, 43, of 50 Mark Street in Franklinton. He was with one count of felony possession of stolen goods.
  • Kenneth Lamont Wilson, 29 of 643 Sulfur Spring Road in Henderson, was charged with one count of felony possession of stolen goods.
  • Ronnie Lynch, 30 of Route 1 Box 43 in Warrenton. He was charged with one felony count of breaking and entering.

Wilson and Lynch were arrested Wednesday morning in Warren County. Deputies said they were trying to steal lawn equipment from a golf course.

The second group arrested was all charged with one count  each of possession of stolen goods and one count of felony larceny:

  • David Lee Owen, 30, of 814 Shocco Springs Road in Warrenton.
  • Jacqueline Ellis, 17, of 1000 Lott 35 Foster Road in Henderson.
  • Allee Taborn, 21
  • Robert F. Bacon, 23

The second group was arrested after being pulled over during a traffic stop because their trailer hitch wasn't attached properly, police said. The group was transporting a lawn mower that had been reported stolen. Once the vehicle was pulled over, Taborn and Bacon fled into the woods and were arrested later, authorities said.

Several of the seven suspects arrested have already served time for theft convictions.

Several weeks ago, a group of thieves cleaned out Dennis Boone’s power tool collection at his Franklin County farm.

“You get ill, disgusted, frustrated,” Boone said.

Investigators told Boone the thieves first stole a pick-up truck and trailer. They used those items to steal $14,000 worth of Boone’s farming equipment, police said.

Boone said the thieves drove the stolen pick-up truck along a driveway that led right past his home. He now keeps everything locked.

The truck, which was taken from another farmer, was later found burned. The tools were not recovered.
Deputies said most of the stolen equipment in the other robberies has not been recovered.

“It’s a vicious cycle that’s got to be broken,” Green said.