A string of burglaries in Willacy County is targeting local farmers and the sheriff’s office needs the public’s help to find the suspects.
Farm equipment has been stolen and the Willacy County Sheriff’s Office says it’s all about the money.
“The value of the property. You’re talking tractors that were stolen between $20,000 and $60,000, that’s a lot of money,” Major Andres Maldonado says.
So far this year, there have been up to five incidents where people have had their property stolen and it goes much farther than just Willacy County.
“We’ve had a rash of stolen farm equipment, such as tractors, trailers, utility trailers, things like that – stolen from within the county, as well as Cameron and Hidalgo County,” Maldonado says.
The sheriff’s office calls it a crime of opportunity.
“If they see that they have a chance to steal that item, then they will,” he says.
Because no matter where the farm equipment is stored, those responsible have taken the risk.
“They’ve broken into the barn and taken the tractors from there, some have been left out in the field from where the farmers have been working, and some are even just breaking locks to fences and getting in and stealing their trailers,” Maldonado says.
Maldonado added the burglaries happen overnight, and they want local to report any suspicious activity.
“If the public sees a tractor, a farm tractor, late at night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m./5 a.m. in the morning, that’s not normal for farmers to be driving their tractors at night – call in. Call the sheriff’s department,” he says.
Right now, investigators don’t have much to go on.
“We’re hoping that we’re able to get some kind of leads to help us find out, if it’s a group of people or a single person,” said Maldonado.
They say anyone worried about their property should keep a description of it on hand just in case, and lock up any valuable items.
“We’re asking that the farmers please log down their serial numbers, their pin numbers, to this farm equipment because that helps us a lot. We’re able to enter it into a stolen database so that if it is stopped, there is a possibility that it is recovered, so that’s important,” Maldonado says.
If you have any information, you’re asked to call the sheriff’s office or Crimestoppers at (956) 642-7463.