‘It’s just one of those unfortunate events:’ Man thinks stolen tractor is ‘local job’

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CHOCTAW, Okla. -- Dean Baustert woke up Saturday morning, ready to fix a fence that a creek had washed away.

It was just one of his latest improvement projects on the Rose Rock Ranch: a property his father-in-law owned but Baustert and his wife intended to fix up for cattle.

But his dreams took a hit Saturday when he came across the equivalent of a nightmare.

"When I pulled in the front entrance, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my Brush Hog was stuck in the barbed wire fence," Baustert told NewsChannel 4. "So I jumped out of my pickup and looked and sure enough someone had driven the Brush Hog with my tractor a half a mile up the road"

The thief disconnected the tangled Brush Hog and continued on with the tractor.

Baustert found the lock at the stall had been cut.  All the culprit had to do was turn any John Deere tractor key, Baustert said, before making a 100-horsepower getaway.

"It's just one of those unfortunate events," he said. "We just hate the idea that people are so shallow and cheap that they would break in and steal a tractor."

The tractor and Brush Hog cost Baustert roughly $70,000 but the work they do for him are worth so much more.

"As you can see I'm getting a little older and I need that tractor to help me do some of the work around here," he said.

Baustert says he has seen petty vandalism and theft on the property before, but never anything like this.

He suspects someone locally  made off with the tractor because he says it's impossible to see from the property line.

"It would have to be someone who snuck on the property at night," he said. "Maybe even one of the neighbors."

Baustert is offering a reward for anyone with information that helps him get his property back.

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