The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 25, 2014

Deputies recover stolen tractor, seize meth lab

GROVE, Okla. — Efforts to locate a stolen tractor led to recovery of a stolen trailer as well this week in Delaware County and the discovery of a methamphetamine lab.

Sheriff Harlan Moore said in a news release that a Kubota tractor reported stolen near Zena on Jan. 17 was recovered Wednesday afternoon at a property north of Grove.

Moore said investigators with the Delaware County sheriff’s office had been working the case with the assistance of detectives from Grove after a similar attempt to steal a tractor from the Outrigger Motel in Grove that had been thwarted the same date as the theft in the Zena area.

Information received Wednesday from the Ottawa County sheriff’s office led officers to a property near Hickory Grove Cemetery at 24100 S. 595th Road, where a man was preparing to leave with a Kubota tractor loaded on a trailer. A check of serial numbers revealed the tractor to be the one taken from the Zena area.

Investigators determined that the man leaving the property was an unsuspecting buyer who had been sold the tractor with a forged bill of sale by a second man, Brian “Bubba” Proctor, age not available, who was located on the property and arrested.

The sheriff said a subsequent search of the premises allegedly turned up a flat-bed trailer that had been reported stolen in Ottawa County on Dec. 29 as well as about $2,500 worth of suspected stolen tools and a “shake-and-bake” meth lab in a recreational vehicle. Many of the tools had been reported stolen to Bernice police, the sheriff said. The stolen tractor and trailer have a combined estimated value of $20,000, he said.

Proctor was being held at the Delaware County Jail on two counts of concealing stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Other charges and more arrests are anticipated in the investigation, the sheriff said.

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