Finney County bust finds some tools stolen from local elevator

4/11/2014

By AMY BICKEL

By AMY BICKEL

Kansas Agland

Caches of farm tools, batteries and other items recovered in Finney County could be linked to area elevator thefts that occurred over the winter.

On a late November night, thieves broke into Turon Mill in Turon, stealing cash and expensive tools, including the mill's Dewalt battery-powered drills along with several other power tools and saws.

Dorothy Marlow, who helps run the mill with her husband, Ed, said a Finney County detective called and said some of their tools, which had Turon Mill engraved on the handle, were recovered in the county.

The Finney County Sheriff's Department has investigated several leads involving three teams of suspects in the past few months, said Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue. An investigation began in February on a team of five people, who have not yet been arrested.

During that investigation, the agency received another tip regarding rural thefts, which led to the arrest of three individuals for separate incidents, Bascue said.

The value of both cases of theft totals more than $19,000 each, he said.

Bascue said sheriff's officials are trying to get the word out about the recovery of the stolen goods with hopes of returning the items to their owners. Recovered items include a sundry of shop equipment, machinery, piping and farm and irrigation batteries.

Marlow said she has not received their stolen tools yet.

Bascue said rural theft is on the rise due to higher scrap metal prices. He noted that on Feb. 15, deputies executed search warrants in regard to another theft case that happened in November at a Finney County business known as Gere's Barn. The suspects had broken into the business and stolen tools and shop equipment valued at nearly $57,000.

This winter, several area elevators in Reno, Kingman and Kiowa counties were targeted by thieves. Thefts included tire changers and power tools. Bascue said it could be likely that one of the teams of thieves is connected to the thefts at the other rural elevators.

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