ATV thieves on the prowl

ATV thieves on the prowl
By: Arnold Wyrick

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. - Police in Franklin County are looking for a ring of ATV thieves that have been targeting residents and local business owners.  In the past two months numerous ATV's have been stolen. 
Police believe the thefts at F.B. McAfoos in Benton, Illinois were some of the first in a long string.
"In the last 12 months we've had about five different occasions of theft," said Tom McAfoos. "It's a variety of equipment: ATV's, utility vehicles, lawnmowers and chainsaws."
One of the more recent items taken from the business was an Artic Cat recovered after police received a tip on its whereabouts.  But, some items aren't found in usable condition.
"We've been fortunate a lot of the equipments been recovered.  But, of course some of it not in too good of shape when we get it back, like the Kobota utility vehicle found in the bottom of the Big Muddy River without it's engine," McAfoos said.
The company has filed some claims with their insurance agency, but that's only a short term solution to the problem.
"Our prices are going to go up, insurance companies aren't in business to lose money.  So it might pay for our thefts in the short term, but in the long run we're going to pay for it.  And everybody else will too," McAfoos said.
So far police have arrested two people in connection to the string of thefts in the Benton and West Frankfort areas.  But many of the items stolen are yet to be found and so are the suspects responsible for stealing them.