BENTON --Two New Madrid County residents were charged with felony stealing and burglary in Scott County on Friday.
The men were charged following an investigation of a Sept. 22 break-in at the General Watkins Conservation Area near Morley.
Joseph T. Johnson, 33, and Donald E. Taul, 37, both of Canalou, are accused of breaking in a storage shed at the conservation area and stealing $10,000 worth of equipment. Items taken included a Polaris ATV, a flatbed trailer, an air compressor, a generator, chain saws, string trimmers, various power tools and a tree stand, which have since been recovered and returned.
Johnson is in custody in New Madrid County, while Taul is still at large. Bond for Johnson has been set at $25,000.
Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said the investigation is not related to another investigation into the theft of another ATV from Beggs Family Farm near Blodgett. The stolen ATV in that case has been recovered.
Walter said there are other ATV theft investigations in progress. "This is the time of year to steal four-wheelers," Walter said. "With deer season approaching, they are becoming a hot item.
Walter suggested to secure four-wheelers and other vehicles at night, take the keys out of them and turn on some exterior lighting.