UPDATE 4/3/17 @ 12:05 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man has been arrested after a tractor was stolen from a business.
George Pendleton IV, 34, of Vinton, was taken into custody for theft of the tractor.
The man broke into Bridgeport Equipment and Tool March 27 and stole the tractor, driving it off the lot.
“I would like to thank the public for their information which led to a successful conclusion to this investigation. Additionally, I would like to thank our friends at the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in bringing this case to a close. The working relationship between law enforcement and the public is again speaking loudly to the criminal element that we will not tolerate your inability to obey the law," says Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin.
An indoor marijuana grow operation was also discovered at Pendleton's residence during a search warrant.
The investigation is still on going in that case and further charges are expected to be filed at a later date.
UPDATE 3/31/17 @ 11:40 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A John Deere tractor stolen earlier this week from Bridgeport Equipment & Tool in Bidwell has been recovered, Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin says.
“I am happy to announce that we have located and returned the tractor to its rightful owner and that one person was taken into custody during the execution of the warrant,” Champlin said in a news release.
Champlin also said that while deputies were serving a search warrant related to the theft, on Creek Road, just outside of the Village of Vinton, deputies located an active indoor marijuana growing operation.
Also seized in the search warrant was drug paraphernalia, cultivation tools and other possible drugs.
Evidence will be submitted to Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren for review.
ORIGINAL STORY 3/30/17
BIDWELL, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A thief broke into a business in Gallia County early Monday morning and not only stole some heavy machinery, but used it as the getaway vehicle.
A John Deere tractor was stolen from Bridgeport Equipment & Tool in Bidwell.
David Sherman, the store manager, says the thief cut through the fence to get in then scoped out the area.
The thief was carrying a fuel can and filled up the tractor before driving it off of the lot.
"Very gutsy to be able to do that the way they've done it," Sherman said. "It's getting taken advantage of."
The tractor costs around $20,000, Sherman said.
A suspect hasn't been identified, but Sherman says the person was wearing a blue Carhartt hoodie.
"The people in this county, they shouldn't be putting up with this either," Sherman said.
This is the fourth time Sherman says the business has been stolen from. He guesses more than $70,000 worth of equipment is gone and he believes the same person, or people, is responsible.
"It's unreal that it's happened this many times with this size of equipment and we haven't found them yet," Sherman said.
Bridgeport is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.
Sherman says the local farm bureau is also offering a $2,500 reward.
Anyone with information regarding the theft is asked to contact Det. Chris Gruber at the Gallia County Sheriff's Office at (740) 446-4614 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.