Farm equipment thefts on rise

Someone has been stealing farm and mowing equipment in recent days in the Medora area, but owners can do a few things to make it harder for that to happen.

One of those is fairly simple, Jackson County Sheriff Michael Carothers said.

“Even if you lock it up, take the key out of it,” he said. “They may hot-wire it, but make them work a little harder to get it.”

Carothers said that in the past two weeks one farm and one business lost high-end farm and mowing equipment, and the crimes are likely connected.

The pieces include zero-turn riding lawn mowers and farm tractors, most of which were sitting outside.

The value of the equipment taken has reached about $53,000, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.

“It looks like they have been driving the equipment away from the scene and loading it up onto a trailer,” Carothers said. “It could be one to two people more than likely.”

He said one thing police would like to see is property owners installing video equipment on a barn or shed.

“It’s getting more and more prevalent, and it’s inexpensive,” Carothers said. “Put up a trail cam. They’re pretty easy to hide.”

Large tractors, mowers and related items seem to be the target of the thief or thieves, and Carothers said the public needs to be suspicious if they encounter someone selling high-end equipment at an unusually inexpensive price.

The sheriff’s department will continue to investigate and asks the public to call police if they have any tips or information pertaining to the thefts.

One thing that helps police investigate such thefts is property owners having easy access to the serial numbers, Carothers said.

He said with larger equipment police can go to the business where the equipment was purchased, but that can be time-consuming, and it’s easier when people have immediate access to that number.

At a glance

If you know any information about the thefts, contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at 812-358-2141.