PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Bell Township man is facing motor vehicle theft charges, but investigators in Somerset County say it wasn't a car that was taken but a farm tractor.
The deep cut of agricultural tires still remains in the front yard of Gary Lauffer's home. The only visible evidence of an alleged crime that has investigators scratching their heads.
According to troopers, the tractor was discovered missing from the Turner Dairy Farm on state Route 819. The search then began for the missing 11,000-pound behemoth.
According to investigators, the family immediately thought to check the property of one-time employee Gary Lauffer, who allegedly stole an ATV off the farm several years ago.
"It isn't easy to hide something like that," trooper Stephen Limani said. "Maybe you try to park it in the woods or drive it to a different location."
But according to troopers, that wasn't part of Lauffer's plan.
"Zero effort to try and hide the tractor," Limani said.
Turner Dairy Farm officials showed up at Lauffer's home and found the alleged missing tractor. Troopers were then called to the scene.
When questioned by investigators as to why he decided to allegedly take the $15,000 International Harvester 786, a very powerful unit, he allegedly told state police he needed it for a job.
"He decided he needed a tractor to remove some trees from his house," Limani said.
The apparatus was recovered and returned to the farm. Lauffer faces a number of felony counts.
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