Jefferson County man uses tractor to capture vehicle thief

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – It was anything but a clean getaway for a want-to-be truck thief.

Investigators credit a man on a tractor for catching the suspect and recovering two stolen trucks.

It happened back in woods off of an unmarked gravel road along Valles Mines Road near Highway 67 in Valles Mines.

Zanescot Kester sells a lot of wood as part of his business, Zanescot Kester Lawn and Tree service.

He was cutting wood and using his tractor to load the wood into his dump truck, May 21.  He was dragging a log back to the truck when noticed his truck pulling away around 1:40 in the afternoon.

“As I was coming out of the woods I saw my truck leaving and trailer -- we’re talking a ½ mile back in the woods!”  Kester said.

He took off in hot pursuit on his tractor.

“I just put it high gear and went after him!” he said.

“It makes you wonder,” said Lt. Dennis Lassing of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.  “It makes you wonder because the (victim) was right there.  He wasn’t far from his truck.”

Yet the suspect tried to steal it anyway, he said.

Kester called sheriff’s department as he gave chase.

The suspect took Kester’s truck to try to free a pickup that was stuck, investigators said.

The pickup was also reported stolen.  Kester said the suspect got Kester’s truck stuck, too.  Kester cornered him with his tractor.

“I brought the tractor right in behind it.  I put the bucket down.  I said, ‘bud you ain’t going nowhere.  The police are on the way.  You’re just waiting right here’…I don’t think it was meant to be obviously.  I know he stole the wrong one when he stole mine…we’ll chase them down no matter where the y go.  Nothing runs like a Deere!” he laughed.

Both victims have their trucks back.

The suspect, 56, is out of jail pending the filing of criminal charges.