CHEROKEE COUNTY — Officials say a teenage girl has been arrested following a major theft of Cherokee County equipment. On Monday, August 4, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office took a report of stolen equipment belonging to the Cherokee County Precinct 3 Road and Bridge Department. Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti stated that a 2010 Massey Ferguson tractor with a Caterpillar boom-ax had been left at a work area near Bullard. The tractor had been left at the intersection of FM 2137 and CR 3602 after work on Wednesday, July 30. The estimated value of the equipment was over $100,000.
On Thursday, August 7, Detectives Joey Ray and Jonathan Hughes received word that the tractor had been located inside the LakeWood East Subdivision (Lake Palestine) off FM 346. The tractor had been abandoned near the back of the property in a heavily wooded area. Over the next few days information began coming in, and one resident of the subdivision reported that she had seen the tractor driving through a field near the swimming pool Friday night around midnight, but it was too dark to see who was in the cab. Surveillance video at the LakeWood Subdivision also gave Detectives important leads to follow, according to officials.
By Sunday, August 10, detectives say they had gathered reliable information on possible suspects and began interviewing those individuals and other witnesses. One of the suspects, Erin Lacy Lee, 17, of Bullard, was interviewed as were two juveniles, ages 15 and 16. During the interview with Lee, she admitted responsibility for the theft of the equipment and subsequent “joy riding,” according to authorities.
On Monday, August 11, an arrest warrant was issued for Lee by Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Judge Brenda Dominy. Lee was arrested at a residence on FM 2137 located less than 1/10 mile from where the tractor had originally been parked. She was charged with Theft of Property, greater than $100,000 but less than $200,000. The charge is a 2nd Degree Felony. Her bond was set at $25,000 by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Tony Johnson.