Sheriff's ag detective plays hunch and finds stolen farm equipment

An accused ag equipment thief went to a lot of effort to get rich quick. In the end his plan backfired and a Fresno County Sheriff's ag task force detective played a hunch and found the stolen equipment plus the man accused of taking it. In late February Lois Perry came out to her farm near Mendota to check on the property. It sits right next to the Kings Slough. "We noticed that the water was high but we also noticed the road grader was gone. Then we called the sheriff's department, turned around and realized the tank was gone, the buffalo enclosure and the disk."

The crook went to a lot of effort. He had to cut the weld on the base of the 2-thousand gallon water tank. The grader needed a battery to get it started and the chain link fence took up a big area of the field. "They pulled out every single post, knocked the cement off, rolled it up. They said they were here probably two or three days."

The Fresno County Sheriff's ag task force got the case eight days ago. Last week detective Mike Wynn spent three days driving all over the Westside. "I see the rear of a caterpillar. I stop went on the property and looked at it, compared it to the photographs I had in the report and saw it matched up completely."

The property owner told detective Wynn that he bought the stolen equipment from David Brisco for $6,500. Brisco was arrested in Dos Palos and now faces several felony charges.

All of the equipment has been returned. "I honestly thought the grader was in Mexico or somewhere. I figured they took it a long ways away because they wouldn't leave it around here." But the equipment didn't go far and detective Mike Wynn had a hunch. "I know it meant a lot to them. It was sentimental. It belongs to them, it belongs here not to some crook who's out there stealing from people."

Detectives were unable to recover the $6500 the unidentified man paid for the stolen equipment.