Thieves Steals Expensive Tractor Equipment

An overnight break-in costs a Lee County business owner thousands of dollars. Deputies are looking for the thieves who broke into Melson Tractor Company on Highway 280. They got away with more than $14,000 worth of heavy equipment.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment sits outside Melson Tractor Company, on Highway 280.

Early Friday morning, investigators say some thieves saw an opportunity, and took advantage. "They cut the lock on one of my gates, and came in that way," said Melson's owner Joel Phillips.

Investigators say once the suspects got in, they went right to work stealing a truck and a trailer with some very expensive equipment inside. "The trailer contained two what are called zero turn type lawn mowers, the approximate value of these mowers is 7,000 dollars, and there were two of them," said Jay Jones, Lee County Sheriff.

The store's owner, Joel Phillips says the suspects would have stolen more, but the cold weather stopped them. "I don't know if they had they own vehicle or what, but they did steal one of our trucks. They tried to steal another one, but couldn't. They jimmied the lock, but couldn't get it started," said Phillips.

Phillips says he's been burglarized before, and if the thieves come back, next time he'll be ready. "Unfortunately, they were able to dodge my security system this go around, but we'll be looking for them again," he said.

Investigators say since there weren't any witnesses, they don't have a description of the suspects. But they're hoping to get some fingerprints off some tools the thieves left behind.