Sheriff’s deputies say a crafty Chesterfield County farmer used GPS monitoring to thwart four alleged thieves who pilfered his pine straw and stole a Kubota tractor.
A 30-year-old man called 911 to report pine straw stolen from his land on Truck Trail near Patrick on Aug. 24. He told dispatchers he had placed GPS units in several bales and was tracking one of the devices to N.C. 177 in North Carolina.
Two other GPS units were still on or near his property, but were showing activity, according ot a Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office report. Deputies responded to the Truck Trail address, stopped a departing Dodge pickup and detained 55-year-old William Otis Moore of Cameron, N.C., and 29-year-old Elvin Ray Moore of Sanford, N.C.
“Suspect had signs of straw on the back of the truck as well as baling string inside the truck,” Staff Sgt. Timmy Knight wrote in the sheriff’s report. “Due to it being dark, victim was unable to tell exactly how much straw was stolen.”
William and Elvin Moore are accused of stealing the farmer’s Kubota tractor to load the pine straw. The report estimates the tractor’s value at $16,000.
Authorities alerted deputies in Harnett County, N.C., that the pine straw containing the first GPS unit was transmitting a signal there. Harnett deputies stopped the truck with the GPS unit and arrested a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman.
Daniel Ray Buchannon and Linda Moore of 93 Treetop Lane outside Cameron were caught with 909 bales of pine straw, according to the sheriff’s report. Valued at $5.50 per bale, the stolen property is worth just under $5,000.
Linda Moore told Harnett County deputies that William Moore had stolen a Ford Ranger pickup truck from Chesterfield County a couple weeks prior and had sold it for scrap in Fayetteville, N.C., Knight wrote in the report.
William Moore and Elvin Moore were charged with motor vehicle theft. Buchannon and Linda Moore face charges of possession of stolen property.
The suspects might have faced stiffer penalties if the theft had taken place in North Carolina, where larceny of pine straw is a Class H felony.