August 05, 2014
ARCU agents Tim Mathews, left, and Jay Whitehead actively worked the recent stolen equipment case. Along with local law enforcement, ARCU recovered nearly $500,000 worth of equipment, including skid steers and tractors.
MONTGOMERY, Ala., — Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Agricultural and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU) recently recovered 11 pieces of farm equipment totaling $489,041 in value. The equipment was reported stolen from Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.
ARCU agents arrested Jody D. Morgan, 53, and Steven Ray Parker, 38, both of Albertville, for receiving stolen property first-degree. Both men were booked at the Etowah County Detention Center with additional charges pending in Marshall County. Parker has been released on bond, and Morgan is still being held at the detention center.
“Our agents worked diligently, alongside local law enforcement, to break this case,” ARCU Commander Gene Wiggins said. “A case like this will make criminals think twice before they bring stolen equipment across the state border and try to resell it. We want thieves to know Alabama is closed to that kind of business.”
Equipment recovered included tractors, skid steers, trailers, a backhoe and wood chipper.
Over the past 12 months, ARCU agents have investigated more than 100 cases and recovered more than $2 million in stolen property.
ARCU partners with local law enforcement to investigate agricultural and rural crimes including theft of farm animals or equipment, fraud and agroterrorism. Under a directive from Governor Robert Bentley, ARCU was the first unit established as part of the consolidation of state law enforcement agencies and works directly out of the Office of the Secretary of Law Enforcement.
Many counties have offered rewards to those that can provide leads tied to these cases. In addition, the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association offers a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone caught stealing cattle from one of its member’s farm. To report a rural crime or provide a tip, call 1-855-75-CRIME.