Cherokee County teen could face 20 years for ‘joy riding’

Published on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:28 - Written by Adam Russell

A Cherokee County teen could face up to 20 years in jail after taking a county-owned tractor for a “joy ride.”

The 17-year-old female was arrested Monday and charged with theft of property valued above $100,000 but less than $200,000, a second-degree felony, after taking a Massey-Ferguson tractor with a tree and brush clearing attachment from where it was parked at the intersection of County Road 3602 Farm-to-Market 2137.

A second-degree felony is punishable “for any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years” and up to a $10,000 fine.

The tractor was reported stolen Aug. 4 and found on Aug. 7 near Lakewood East Subdivision off of Farm-to-Market Road 346 near Lake Palestine, which is more than four miles down FM 2137 and up FM 346.

It was abandoned near the back of the subdivision in a heavily wooded area.

Detectives received information from a resident who said she saw the tractor driving through a field near the subdivision pool the prior Friday night around midnight, but that it was too dark to see who was driving.

Surveillance video from the subdivision gave other clues, according to the report.

By Sunday, detectives had gathered information about possible suspects and witnesses, including two other juveniles, ages 15 and 16.

During an interview, the 17-year-old female admitted to taking the tractor and “joy riding.” The next day she was arrested at a home near where county workers parked the tractor.

No detectives were available to give other details regarding the theft. Precinct 3 County Commissioner Katherine Pinotti did not return inquiries regarding details of the theft, including damages to the tractor or whether workers left the keys in the ignition, by press time.

The teen’s bond was set at $25,000.