Turner County Sheriff's Deputies say a small theft ring may be behind a number of tractor thefts reported over the weekend.
Investigators say two large tractors and a 35 foot goose neck trailer were stolen from a residence on Saturday night on Live Oak Road in the eastern part of the county.
In a separate incident, a 16 foot trailer and a grill were also stolen at a residence in East Turner County.
On Sunday night, a Honda four wheeler was stolen at a residence in the western part of the county on Harmony Road.
Turner Sheriff Andy Hester says a number of thefts have been reported in the surrounding counties, and isn't sure why the crimes have moved into Turner County.
Clyde Kimkowski says the increased traffic that runs on the dirt road next to this farm has him worried about his tractors.
"We're fixin' to chain them up," he said. "I got some chains and locks and we'll put chains around the axles, you know, until we can get some gates built."
Last Saturday night, a 35 foot goose neck trailer was stolen right down the road from Kimkowski's house and was then used to steal an M-1085 Kubota Tractor and an M-7040 Kubota Tractor from another neighbor's house.
And the thought of losing expensive equipment is devastating. "I mean, it's paid for, you know?" said Kimkowski. "And you know, I don't have theft insurance. So we'd just be without, you know. And these people that are doin' this stuff, I can't tell you on camera what I think of them."
The thefts were valued at roughly $60,000 and could be linked to a few other incidents that occurred over the weekend, which investigators say may suggest a theft ring.
"Somebody at one point might have stolen a lawn mower or something of that nature, a four wheeler, and got comfortable with it. And with any crime, people get comfortable in thinking they can get away with it and just move up to something bigger," said Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester.
Investigators say the suspects could have taken the equipment over state lines and may have even arranged a drop off location before stealing anything.
"We've got a couple suspects, but we're trying to follow those leads through and eliminate who we can and follow who we can," said Investigator Chad Walker.
Deputies say they haven't seen thefts like this in Ashburn, but are reaching out to other agencies for help tracking down the activity.
"People that steal heavy equipment like that have to have a contact to move that type of stuff, so we're trying to figure out where those contacts could be and what their associations are within our community," said Hester.
And residents think those links could be right around the corner. "It's my gut feeling, and I think it it's somebody that lives around here that knows everybody's schedule," said Kimkowski.
Investigators say the suspects could have had to plan a drop off location for the stolen property, which may be over state lines.
Deputies are urging the public to lock up their equipment and report any suspicious activity to the Turner County Sheriff's Office at (229)567-2401.
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