Large item thefts on rise, suspects behind bars

Sheriff Johnny Bivens

Sheriff Johnny Bivens says his office has seen a decrease in petty thefts in recent months but he has noticed an increase of culprits looking for something bigger.

Bivens said a couple of the larger thefts included a Ford F-550 pick-up, gooseneck trailer, dump trailer, and a utility trailer with a commercial welder.

At another location, a New Holland tractor and a trailer were taken.

Suspects have been arrested, he said.

Bivens said his office has investigated the cases diligently and the work of his officers has proven efficient as they have recovered all but two pieces of the above-listed equipment.

Bivens said items recovered include a stolen Massy Ferguson on Saturday evening along with other items before the even victim realized it was missing.

He said during the investigations, he and deputies also recovered numerous ATV and UTV vehicles, five pick-up trucks, several utility trailers, three motorcycles (two of them Harley Davidsons), along with chainsaws and various other items.

“Most of the stolen items were recovered in Carter County but undoubtedly there is a connection to individuals in Lewis County,” Bivens said.

He said they have made arrests in the cases and adds he is confident that more arrests will be made.

Bivens says he believes some of the thefts are a direct result of the pandemic, where these individuals believe they will either not go to jail or be released a short time later.

He says their theory was proven incorrect when three of the suspects were arrested and remain incarcerated.

Bivens says as a result of these investigations and the locations involved, not all of the suspects were lodged in the Lewis County Detention Center.

“We hope to keep them separated as we continue our investigations,” Bivens said.

He adds the alleged thieves are hitting their targets during the early morning hours and asks anyone who may see someone pulling or driving a tractor down the road at 3:00 in the morning to report it.

“It is very unusual that you will see someone moving farm equipment during those hours,” he said.

He says one precaution residents can take is if you see something, don’t hesitate to report it.

“Let my deputies and me decide if it’s legitimate,” he said.

He advises that if possible, look into security systems as well as additional lighting around your property.

Bivens urges anyone who has seen any of the above-described activities to call his office at 606-796-2912.

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