Farm equipment theft is a big problem in Mississippi, costing farmers half a million dollars each year.
As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, a new task force is focusing on finding thieves and bringing them to justice.
A 2014 John Deer tractor is among the pieces of equipment reported stolen from a property in Attala County last week. Total combined value: $45,000. Kosciusko Police Investigator Greg Collins says the crooks could get cash in many ways from the equipment.
"We've actually seen it both ways where they take the equipment somewhere and they sell it, and we've seen where they break it down and sell parts off them," says Collins.
"Would the copper wiring inside that equipment, would that also be valuable?"
"Yes it would," says Collins.
"We need to protect our people who work everyday from dawn to dark, growing the cotton we wear, the corn we eat, and not have these common thieves roaming around at night and taking their hard-earned equipment away from them," says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
The Secretary of State's Office recently formed a farm equipment theft task force, made up of law enforcement and recycling businesses. They're using an on-line, information-sharing warning system called LeadsOnLine. It's designed to make it difficult for thieves to sell scrap metal for cash, and help authorities track them down. Hosemann says the information on the stolen tractor and other items will be entered into the system for Louisiana and Arkansas to also be on the lookout.