Farm equipment thefts on the rise

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farm equipment thefts are on the rise, according to Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay.

That announcement and a caution for area farmers to be alert for suspicious vehicles was made at the March meeting of the Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers.

"The weather is warming up and [criminals] are out stealing farm equipment," DeLay said. "We have had two reports so far this week."

In addition to equipment thefts, DeLay said farmers should keep a close watch on their cattle, especially bottle-fed and young calves.

"Cattle prices are up. Calves are easy to steal and hard for people to identify," he said. "Most livestock trading places don't ask for identification from those selling cattle."

Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder reported catching two people in the act of robbing the clubhouse at the Windmill Ridge Golf Course in Monett.

"Officers caught two individuals inside the facility with socks in their pockets," Schweder said. "What their reason was for stealing socks is anybody's guess."

Schweder also reported someone vandalizing Monett City Hall with graffiti early this week. Investigation into the matter continues.

Schweder announced a Drug Take Back program will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at Old Town Pharmacy, located at 100 Chapel Dr. in Monett. Area residents may drop off outdated or unused prescription medications for proper disposal. The effort will be supervised by the Monett Police Department and the Barry County Health Department.

Prescription medications may also be dropped off at the Cassville Police Department, located at 302 Main St. in Cassville.

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly reported a rise in sex crimes in Barry County.

"We are also having an increase in the number of concealed carry permit requests," Epperly said. "Those numbers seem to always spike around election time."

Epperly also announced his department had received a $153,380 grant from the Missouri Department of Homeland Security to have narrow band radios installed in all of the patrol vehicles as well as the patrol cars in Purdy, Washburn, Wheaton and Seligman.

"We are only one of 30 agencies in the state that received funding from this grant phase," Epperly said. "This will really help the county with being compliant for the federally mandated narrow band frequency requirements, which are set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013."

The grant will provide about 30 radios and repeater systems for the Barry County Sheriff's Office and other county law enforcement agencies.

Schweder reported receiving two good tips from the Barry-Lawrence tip line but indicated the anonymous tipsters had refused the rewards. Those tips involved a recent rash of cattle thefts, an unregistered sex offender and illegal drug activity in the area.

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