Region 8 man reports theft, says city didn't help prevent crime

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – The Paragould Police Department is investigating a claim that nearly $5,000 in power tools and other equipment turned up stolen Wednesday morning. According to a report filed by Thomas Pruitte, 107 Magnolia Drive, someone stole tools from his garage that are used to repair refrigeration equipment and other appliances.

"I'll say a quarter till four, I heard a car spinning out and I come out like I always do and check this and there it was, my garage door wide open," said Pruitte. "My peg board back here, which was full of tools, everything a man could want, was empty, gone."

Pruitt said the criminals made off with power tools, wrenches and other items. He estimated the value at $5,000.

"I only make a nickel or dime here for repairing a refrigerator, you know, I don't make much money," said Pruitte. "About three weeks ago, somebody kicked my air conditioner in trying to get in, and he did it so loud, it woke me and I came out and he ran and took off."

Last week, Pruitte contacted the Paragould Public Works Department to request high grass behind his shed near a drainage ditch be cut. Some weeds Wednesday stood taller than seven feet. Pruitte said he was afraid someone would use the bushy area as cover so they could steal his tools.

"I called the city to let them know that I'm having this problem with these weeds behind my house because nobody could see my shed and they could hide back there," said Pruitte.

"All I know is we went out when we got the call on the ditch to clean it out and we went out and we spent two days working on the ditch and as far as I knew, we had done what we were supposed to do," said Terry McAbee, Assistant Director of the Paragould Public Works Department.

McAbee said the director of the agency sent a crew a few days after Pruitte requested cleanup of the drainage easement, however, crews were not fully familiar with where to begin work.

"We started on the opposite end of the ditch of what this guy wanted to," said McAbee. "We went out and started cleaning the ditch up. We were just not perfectly aware of where to start at."

Pruitte said he hopes police can locate the tools. He said Wednesday if they aren't, he wants the city to help pay for a new set.

"I'm upset because I was lied to. I was promised that they would come out here and cut these weeds and it didn't get done," said Pruitte. "The guy that came out here this morning tried to say that they did cut the right grass. When he got here, he said, I'm sorry we cut the wrong grass."

Paragould Public Works told Region 8 News Wednesday they may begin work on the easement behind Pruitte's garage later this week.

"I think it may be somebody who has seen what I've got with my garage door open and seen a quick dollar," said Pruitte.

If you have any information that could lead to the location of the tools or help police make an arrest, contact the Paragould Police Department at 870-236-7621.

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