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Thieves take tractor on destructive joyride

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PURCELL, Okla. - You wouldn't think 10 acres of freshly churned dirt in rural McClain County would be an appealing target for thieves.

Look down and you can see the value.

Metal storm grates are becoming increasingly popular among criminals looking for quick cash. 

Detective Corporal Scott Stephens said, "They'll steal them and take it to a salvage yard to sell and get money. Usually they are supporting their drug habits. It's a quick way of getting cash."

Purcell police said the intruders hauled off every cast iron cover that wasn't cemented down.

They also ripped off metal piping and siphoned 100 gallons of diesel fuel from the heavy equipment. 

In addition to the stolen property, the intruders left a trail of destruction.

They wiped out about $2,000 worth of new chain link and ruined a $400 tractor tire.

"They went for a joy ride on the road grader," Stephens said. "They took out about 20 to 30 yards of fence and damaged the road grader."

When you consider the vandalism and theft, it adds up to an $11,000 loss for the property owner.

That's a lot of trouble, considering the scrap metal is only worth a couple hundred bucks.