Accused tractor thief writes apology letter to business owner - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Accused tractor thief writes apology letter to business owner

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TIPTON COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A joyride with a tractor got a Millington man in a lot of trouble in Tipton County.

Deputies say it all started when a driver along Highway 51 noticed a tractor lying in the middle of the highway.

Steve Allen Wooten has been in the tractor business for a long time. He has thousands of dollars worth of equipment outside and even though he has been hit by thieves before, he has never seen one this bold.

"Broke the rear axle, damaged the bucket and side points, the front rim is bent, as well," said Wooten.

Wooten says early Saturday night, Dave Bruno walked onto his lot and tried to take a tractor.

"He tried to crank them with screwdrivers and tore up the key switches, actually got one cranked and ran into the back of another tractor," explained Wooten.

Deputies say Bruno loaded one of Wooten's tractors onto the back of this eight foot trailer. He was driving down Highway 51 when he lost his load.

"Either he was in a hurry or decided not to tie down the tractor he'd just stolen on the trailer," said Chief Donna Turner, Tipton County Sheriff's Department.

The tractor tipped over, leaving orange paint and large grooves in the highway.

Deputies say that was a danger to travelers.

"It could have really been a tragedy for the people traveling along Highway 51 at 7:20 that night," said Turner.

"He got too big a tractor for the equipment he had to haul it with," said Wooten.

Wooten says Bruno wrote him a letter of apology and hand delivered it earlier this week.

"Said he was having hard times and weak moment, I guess," said Wooten.

Deputies say Bruno left the scene after losing the tractor along the highway.

They later caught up with him near the Tipton - Shelby County line.

David Bruno is charged with trespassing, theft, and vandalism. Steve Allen Wooten says he is already repairing his equipment.

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