EL RENO, Okla. -- A pair of Oklahoma City men were arrested early Tuesday morning after a five month investigation by the Canadian County Sheriff’ Office.
Oklahoma City men Aaron M. McCarthy, 44, and Michael E. O’Neil, 21, were taken into custody during the investigation for a series of windmill and farm equipment thefts.
McCarthy was first identified as a suspect in the case when he and another man fled from a barn in rural Oklahoma.
"After the property owner noticed that a strange truck was parked near his property, he decided to investigate and confronted two men tossing metal equipment from the second story hay loft of his barn," Randall Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff said. "There’s no doubt the two were planning to steal the items, so they could sell them to recycling centers for cash."
Police say they were unable to contact McCarthy when they went to his house located in the 2400 Block of N. Miller, but they noticed "numerous windmill fans lying in the front yard of his garage apartment."
A few days later, one of the same investigators who went to McCarthy's residence learned that a deputy had taken report of a windmill being stolen from a farm near Cimarron Rd. and N.W. Highway.
Remembering McCarthy's home, deputies decided to try to contact him again.
Reports say McCarthy met with investigators and confessed to being inside the barn, but denied having any involvement with windmill thefts.
It came to the deputies' attention that McCarthy was selling fans to antique dealers in and around the Oklahoma City area.
But the crime spree was brought to a halt when investigators spotted McCarthy’s vehicle on an abandoned farm property in far N.E. Canadian County, where they knew he had been scrapping the day before.
McCarthy tried to make a run for it in his 2000 Ford pickup. He and O'Neil got out of the truck and took off on foot through a wheat field.
Police say the two made it to McCarthy's girlfriend's vehicle before police apprehended them two hours later.
After his arrest, McCarthy confessed to investigators he had stolen a number of windmills, several flatbed trailers, as well as some other equipment from rural farm properties in Canadian County.
"I’m always amazed by those who have no respect for the property of others, and I’m extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the investigators that put these outlaws behind bars," Edwards said.
McCarthy and O’Neil were transported to the Canadian County Jail where McCarthy was booked on Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, Second Degree Burglary and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony. O’Neil was booked for Petit Larceny and Conspiracy.
McCarthy and O’Neil remain in jail with bond set at $15,500.00 and $500.00 respectively.
McCarthy has a Concealing Stolen Property, and False Declaration of Ownership to a Pawnshop case pending in Oklahoma County.