Metal thieves wreck equipment, business -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Metal thieves wreck equipment, business

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Metal thefts continue around one South Albany neighborhood, with businesses and farmers being hit over the weekend. An Albany farmer has both his tractors stripped by metal thieves, and now he is struggling to get them repaired in time to keep his crops growing.

Junior Oliver has been farming his fields on Centennial Avenue for 40 years, but now metal thieves are forcing him to think

Friday night, thieves stripped both his tractors and he knows repeated crime will force him to make changes.

Junior Oliver picks his okra by hand, like he has done for the last 40 years on Centennial Avenue. But metal thefts are threatening his business.  "Well, I'm just stopped. I'm just out until I can get my tractors fixed,"  Oliver said.

Oliver's prize is a 1972 Case tractor.  "I got all this taped up. this was just laying all down here, all tore up. This is where the radiator goes and they tore the breathers, all this stuff under here. Tore it all off."

The thieves tried to take the radiator off his 1976 International, but could not get to it. So they stripped all the wires off the tractor. He is rewiring it, but getting the radiator for his beloved Case is the top priority.

"It's just hard to find one for a tractor that old. 72 model, in good shape. Took care of it all my life. Bought it new. Now you see what happens to it." Oliver has already called five businesses, trying to find a radiator, but with no luck so far, in what has been a tough year.

"I don't know. Between the heat, the drought. The deer, they can't help it, they ate all my peas up. That's nature. But the thieves, it's hard. It makes you just want to fold it up, you know."

Not long ago thieves stripped the wiring off his Case tractor. He got that fixed, and now they hit him again. Oliver says he can't keep putting hundreds of dollars into tractor repairs, because of metal thieves.

Junior Oliver says he is going to stop parking his tractors at his Centennial Avenue fields. He is going to store them at his home, and bring them to the fields when needed, and he says that is going to cost him a lot more time and money.

Junior Oliver said he has friends who have offered to let him use their tractors until he gets his repaired, but he says having to deal with crime is really getting old for him on the farm.

Thieves also stripped radiators and stole batteries from a number of collectible cars at Jack Ivey Signs sometime over the weekend.

Just around the corner from Junior Oliver's field on West Town Road, someone broke into the fenced compound behind Jack Ivey Signs and stole four radiators, four batteries, an air conditioner compressor, and copper wire.

Because of previous thefts, the company has been parking their work trucks inside their building to protect them.


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