TILLMAN COUNTY, OK (RNN Texoma) -The Tillman County Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying a thief who broke into a farm on the southwest part of Frederick and stole a portable welder. It happened sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Bobby Whittington said this is the second time the farm has been hit in the last three months.
Whittington said they received a phone call this morning after posting this video to their Facebook page. In the video you can see the thief trespassing on the property and looking inside a small storage.
Whittington hopes the tip can bring the suspect to justice. But this is just one case. He said funding cuts to his department has led to under staffing and because of that, he said they need all the help they can get from people in the community to help solve crimes.
Although stealing a portable welder may not seem like a lot to some people Sheriff Whittington said it's a critical item for farming operations.On average it can cost between 1,500 to 2,000 dollars.
"That's a great deal of money. They need that equipment to work on their farming equipment to make sure it stays operational work on fences there is so much that the piece of equipment does for them and any little bit that comes out of their pocket hurts," Whittington said.
The welder was stolen earlier this week, and since December of last year Whittington said his department has been swamped with items being stolen from various properties.
"We've had 5 trailers, a tractor, a couple of welders stolen here in Tillman County and that's a lot that's more than average," Whittington said.
Including himself, there is an under sheriff and one deputy who have to patrol over 900 square miles in the county making it hard to handle calls and investigations.
"If you start talking to a suspect and another call comes in and your the only one on, you have to go take care of that call by that time the suspect knows what you are going to be talking about and he's going to have time to get his story together so it makes it harder to be able to do anything," Whittington said.
That's why they are asking for the public's help to be an extra set of eyes to catch thieves and crooks in action.
"Any piece of information they see about a suspicious activity going on if they call us and relay it to us that may be what we need to clear a case. It may not be related to what they saw but it may be the puzzle we are looking for to clear another case," Whittington said.
Whittington adds home owners and farmers need to keep an eye on their belongings.
"Secure your homes, secure your property, put some form of identifying mark on your property," Whittington said.
The Tillman County Sheriff's Department has a program called Leads Online that allows them to check pawn shops for possible stolen items.
Whittington encourages people to utilize the free tool to take pictures of their valuables and upload it online at no cost. If you have any questions about the program or tips in any case call their office at 580 335-3013.