Thieves run from the law, get stuck in the mud

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CHICKASHA, Okla.—An alleged theft ring was busted after the suspects got a little stuck in the mud. Erick Nickell said, “First, I saw tracks leading out of my place, footprints, and then when I got up here, noticed my barn door had been kicked in and about 9 high-powered rifles stolen and a real nice guitar.”

However, that wasn’t the only thing the thieves took.

Nickell said, “I realized they vandalized my job trailer up there and that cabin and stole my tractor.”

“They also kicked over my outhouse,” he said. “They tried to beat this lock in with an axe.”

The suspects were not only concerned about stealing expensive items, they also had a desire for destruction.

“This whole structure could have collapsed because they kicked all the bracing out,” he said. “I could have lost the whole structure just from some idiotic acts.”

After seeing the mess left behind by the thieves, investigators learned that about 10 people were along the bank of Chickasha Lake when they got stuck in the mud.

That is where Erick’s John Deere tractor comes into play.

Instead of pulling their vehicles out of the mud, the suspects got the tractor stuck in the lake.

Nickell said, “The tractor, the boom, was on there. They ran down here through the pasture but right before they crossed the fence, dropped off about a four foot drop off and they basically pole vaulted that tractor and bent the boom all to heck. Whoever was driving that tractor must have gotten hurt.”

While searching the property, authorities found beer cans and discarded sales receipts, which just happened to be the key to bringing the suspects into custody.

Mike Grimes with the Department of Agriculture said, “They took those receipts and tracked them back to where the purchases had been made.”

Authorities say a total of 10 people were involved in the crime and admitted to it.

Nickell said, “I hope the District Attorney throws the book at these guys.”