Tractor theft suspect steals almost $300K of farming equipment

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC) - The Paradise Grill on Highway 51 in Atoka is just one of the places where sheriff's deputies say a tractor thief stopped on his joyride.

The tractor has been located, and deputies have also identified a suspect.

Tipton County Sheriff's Deputies said the man got away with nearly $300,000 worth of farm equipment.

"That's actually kind of surprising; you would think someone would have noticed it," said Dustin Robbins from Fastimes Community Market.

In the blink of an eye, detectives say the man stole a John Deere tractor and a rotary mower from this portion of Austin Peay Highway in Shelby County.

Spotting a tractor that size driving down the road is easy, but detectives were able to find the tractor in an even easier way: a GPS tracking device inside a small compartment on top of the tractor's roof.

Detectives not only found the tractor, but they also found out where the suspect went on his joy ride.

From Shelby County to Tipton County, detectives said the suspect made several stops including the Paradise Grill in Atoka and the Fastimes Community Market on Highway 14.

"We do see a lot of tractors around here; there's a lot of farmland," Robbins said.

Robbins said it's not unusual to see tractors park at the business.

A manager said the suspect came into the store and used the ATM machine. He was also caught on surveillance video.

Deputies are now using those images to track down the alleged tractor thief.

"Somebody has to know who he is. If you see him just let them know, let the police know," Robbins said.

Deputies are asking for anyone with information about this crime to call the Tipton County Sheriff's Office at 901-475-3300.

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