Stolen combine recovered
UPDATED 1:55 P.M.
DECATUR — A combine reported stolen from a farm field in eastern Macon County early Friday has been recovered.
Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh said it was recovered at 11:40 a.m. in a field northeast of Homer in eastern Champaign County, about 60 miles from where it was stolen. Walsh said a farmer noticed it and called a sheriff's deputy. The deputy located the serial number and discovered it had been reported stolen.
Macon County sheriff's Sgt. Jason Brown said a farmer in the Casner area arrived at his field Friday morning to go to work and found his John Deere 9600 combine was gone.
"The suspect who took the combine left a John Deere Z777 riding lawn mower," said Brown.
Deputies tracked down the owner of the riding mower and discovered that it had been stolen from rural Findlay in Shelby County, meaning the thief would have driven about 15 miles on the mower to get to the combine.
The lawn mower owners were unaware it had been stolen until notified by the Macon County sheriff's deputy.
Brown described the combine as a large piece of equipment.
Mike Miller, a Central Illinois John Deere dealer, said the 9600 combine was produced between 1989 and 1997 and would be worth anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000, depending on its age and condition. Its top speed is about 25 mph, he said.
The mower, Miller said, is even slower than the combine at its top speed.
Brown asked anyone with information on the stolen mower or combine to contact the Macon County sheriff's office at 217-424-1311.