The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office recovered a stolen John Deere Gator Wednesday.
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 14, deputies with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about suspicious activity on Yates Spring Road. Upon arrival, they located a man driving a truck and pulling a trailer. After checking the status of his driver’s license, it was determined the driver of the truck was driving on a suspended license. Coincidentally, as deputies were placing the driver under arrest, they spotted a John Deere Gator in the ditch, parked underneath a tree.
Because of the suspicious nature of the call, and the fact that the ATV was parked in an odd place, deputies ran the serial number of the side by side to see if it was reported stolen. The number used to check the status of the Gator yielded no such result. However, back at the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Robert Humphrey was told the story and knew something was fishy.
Investigator Humphrey returned to the scene later Wednesday morning and located the ATV in the same spot the deputies spotted it hours before. Upon observation, Humphrey noted that there was no key in the ignition and that the ignition wires had been stripped bare. Because of the vehicle’s odd location, the absence of a key and with the added evidence of stripped ignition wires, Investigator Humphrey towed the ATV back to the Sheriff’s Office.
Based on his experience, Humphrey knew that there were two different serial numbers to check, one on the seat and one on the frame. Back at the Office, the serial number from the ATV’s frame yielded a result: the vehicle was reported as stolen in Seminole County a week prior. The rightful owner had reported the ATV as being stolen on either December 7 or 8 and lived off of Spring Creek Road, just inside Seminole County.
At this time, investigators have a suspect in the ATV theft, but have yet to make the arrest. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office at 229-248-3044.