By Michael R. Moser
One Cumberland County resident learned the hard way that it is always best to get permission before borrowing a piece of equipment valued at thousands of dollars, even if the intent is to free a struck personal vehicle.
Kelly Scott Hood, 29, 116 Malver Dr., is charged with one count of theft of less than $60,000 in connection with the incident that took place Feb. 11. Bond was set at $50,000 and he is to appear in General Sessions Court next Thursday to answer the felony charge.
An employee of Lyndon Thomas Jared reported to work that day and was surprised to find a John Deere skid steer — called a skidder — was missing from the location where it was left on Friday. He sent his boss a message, asking if the equipment had been moved, and then started following tracks that led away from the rock quarry off Eroh Rd. where the crew was working.
The employee tracked the skidder to a hollow between the rock quarry and an SUV that apparently become stuck behind a cellular phone tower, according to Sheriff's Investigator David Gibson's report. The employee found the suspect operating the skidder and confronted him.
The suspect, according to Gibson's report, told the employee that the worker's boss had told him it was OK to use the skid steer to free his vehicle. Gibson noted that it appeared that several attempts had been made to free the SUV, noting that rocks and wood had been placed under and around the tires without result.
The employee held the suspect at the scene until the sheriff's department arrived and took Hood into custody.
Value of the skidder was placed at $22,000.
There was no explanation in the report as to why the vehicle was off the road and in the area of the cell tower.