Wes Franklin

A recent break-in at the farm of a local man has prompted a cash reward after he said he's finally had enough.

Veterinarian Dr. Corey Bates, who practices at his North Miami Animal Hospital, is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who broke into his Kansas storage barn and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Taken were two orange Kubot RTV 4X4s with hydrolic dump beds; a Honda generator; a forced air space heater; and a Lincoln 225 welder. The items were stolen from a building on Bates' farm, located just over the Kansas line, two and 3/4 miles from Highway 166 on 30th Rd., across from Greenlawn School.

Bates doesn't live on the premises but runs cattle on the property. He said when he fed his livestock in the late afternoon hours last Tuesday, he checked on his new 40 by 60 foot barn and everything was fine. But when Bates returned around 4 the next afternoon, he found the lock busted off the door. He said it looked like it had been pried.

Since the packed snow wasn't busted up in front of the barn doors, Bates figures the ground was frozen when the RTVs were rolled out, meaning the burglary probably occurred either very late Tuesday night or, more likely, the very early hours of Wednesday morning.

The thieves didn't touch his John Deere tractor and Bates said they left most of his tools alone as well, among other items.

“I think they just took the easy stuff,” he said. “They were looking to grab the most expensive things the fastest.”

And this isn't the first time this has happened either, according to Bates.

About a year and a half ago, two 24-foot trailers - one a flatbed the other a gooseneck - were stolen from the same premises, Bates said. He said he has also been robbed of property at other locations in a relatively short time span.

After this last break in, Bates said he wants some answers. That's why he put the reward up.

“I want to find out what's going on,” he said. “It could be the same people, it might not be, I don't know for sure. But I want to find out.”

If the information is reliable and pans out, the $5,000 will be paid upon conviction of the guilty parties and the actual return of the merchandise. Bates asked folks to keep an eye for the missing items and to please call him or the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department if they think they run across any of it or know who might be responsible for the theft.

“We sure would appreciate any leads,” Bates said.

He can be reached at 620-762-3703, or at his Miami clinic, 918-540-1700. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department number is 620-429-3992.