Nearly $50,000 Worth Of Equipment Stolen From 4-H Farm
OCALA - Nearly 50 thousand dollars worth of farming machinery has disappeared. Not from just any farm though, a 4-H farm. And the culprits got into the property through the school next door. A $2,500 dollar reward is now in play.
Nearly 1,000 children and teens in marion county belong to 4-H clubs. 4-H students engage in hands on learning activities in the field of science, healthy living, and food security.
One private 4-H farm has been stripped from being able to do that, after a hefty burglary.
Vintage Cattle Company is a privately owned 4-H farm in Ocala, that mirrors a 1940's lifestyle and hopes to teach kids where food comes from. Richard Sherman owns the farm and while he did not want to speak to us on camera, we're told the plan was to have it up and running by the end of the year. However now they're suffering a setback after $48,000 worth of John deere equipment was stolen.
Angy Scrobble a spokesperson for the Ocala Police Department said, "It's hard to get generous donations with the economy like it is these days and to have something like this available for all of our youth and our students… and have it taken? It’s just very disappointing."
The thief used bolt cutters to open the heavy duty lock on the storage barn and used a truck or a trailer to steal the equipment by going through the school next door. The farm and Grace Christian School are interconnected, you can still see there tracks of the equipment that were taken out through their fence.
The head of the Grace Christian School, George Raymond said, "I think people saw an opportunity to get something that they could get money for and they could care less about children, about Mr. Sherman… it's what's in it for me."
The items stolen were a utility truck, a compact tractor, and a riding lawn mower. Raymond said the farm was making plans to work with them and other schools.
"The sad part is that Mr. Sherman has been building this 100 acre farm… he's making it a 1940's farm. So when you go inside the house, it'll be what it was like in 1940. He has a 1941 windmill, his equipment was going to be 40's equipment and his goal was to teach people what farming was like in the 1940s," said Raymond.
Evidence officers took photographs and collected dna, in hopes of finding the crook. A $2,500 reward is also being offered.
If you have any information about this crime please contact Detective Brandon Sirolli at 352-368-5405 with OPD or Crime Stoppers of Marion County ay 352-368-STOP (7867). You can also text any tips to 274-637 using the keyword 368STOP.
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