La Feria News

Farm Equipment Theft Ring Busted by Pct. 5 Constable Cesar Rene Diaz

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On Friday April 19, 2013, Constable Cesar Rene Diaz received a report of a theft of a farm tractor from a McAllen resident.  The tractor was reported to have been stolen off of Business 83 by the railroad tracks between Bixby Road and Kubiski Road west of La Feria, Texas.

“We believe that the tractor was stolen some time on Wednesday April the 17th”, stated Constable Diaz.

“My investigator proceeded to look into the theft and located a business with surveillance video where the theft had been captured on video. He then proceeded to search the country roads near the crime scene in hope that he would locate the tractor. We shared the information we gathered and a good description of the suspect vehicle used in the theft with City of Mercedes police officers, who recognized the vehicle as possibly belonging to one of their local residents. Mercedes officers provided us with identification information of the suspect vehicle and its operator”, stated Constable Diaz.

Constable Diaz and his deputies then proceeded to search for the suspect vehicle in the city of Mercedes and minutes later located the vehicle and detained the driver. The deputies along with Mercedes officers confronted the driver identified as 20-year old Adolfo Montelongo Jr.

“Mercedes police officers informed us that Mr. Montelongo was no stranger to the law and had in fact arrested him late last year for burglarizing a store at the Mercedes Outlet Mall”, stated Diaz.  Mr. Montelongo was transported to the Cameron County Annex building in Harlingen where he was interviewed by investigators. Mr. Montelongo confessed to driving to La Feria with another person on the night of Wednesday, April 17th and taking the tractor in question and driving the tractor through dirt roads that led them to a residence in the town of Progreso, Texas.  Mr. Montelongo further confessed to posting a picture of the tractor and a few others on Craigslist.com where he sold them.  Mr. Montelongo provided the investigator with a buyer’s phone number which led him to a ranch in Edinburg, Texas.

The buyer was interviewed and stated that Mr. Montelongo had sold him, not only one tractor, but two tractors and two flatbed trailers.  The buyer was fully cooperative and led us to the Vasquez residence in Progreso, Texas, where he bought the equipment and there, more stolen property was recovered.  The two tractors and the two trailers were recovered from the buyer pending further investigation because it was uncertain if all the equipment was in fact stolen.

Upon further investigation, the owners to the second tractor and the two trailers were located. The second tractor was reported stolen to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office by a Hidalgo County resident, one trailer was reported stolen to the Weslaco Police Department by a Weslaco resident and the other trailer was reported stolen to the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department by a Harlingen resident. Constable Diaz reports that all four pieces of equipment recovered have been returned to their rightful owners and criminal charges are pending by those law enforcement agencies involved. Constable Diaz states that his agency is expecting to make more arrests soon in connection to this theft ring.

Constable Diaz also stated that they have questioned Jesus Vasquez Jr., his son Martin Vasquez and Jose Angel Valenzuela, all of Progreso, Texas regarding their involvement and participation in thefts and sales of the equipment. It was revealed that the suspects were photographing the tractors while still parked at the owner’s properties and posting them on Craigslist.com before they actually stole them.

Constable Diaz states that it is believed that a total of four persons were involved in the theft ring.
Two suspects would commit the theft and post on Craigslist.com, one suspect would wash, prepare and help transport the equipment to sell, and one suspect would use his residence in Progreso, Texas to sell from.

Constable Diaz urges victims of thefts to check websites such as Craigslist and eBay to possibly locate their stolen property. The suspects also posted two other tractors for sale on Craigslist.com: a blue Ford tractor with a front bucket and a green John Deere tractor with a front bucket and a rear box scraper. The owners/victims to these tractors nor the tractors have been found.

“Here is another case we have solved by working together with other agencies and because of our residents and our local businesses getting involved and assisting”, stated Constable Diaz.

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