URBANA — The Champaign County sheriff's office is asking the public for information about the whereabouts of a man wanted for the possession of a stolen vehicle.
Sheriff's deputies also say the wanted man is a suspect in the theft of a combine from Macon County last week.
Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Greg Mills said police are looking for Rick Lee Steffey, 45, who listed an address in Homer.
Mills described Steffey as a white male. He is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighs 170 pounds and has black hair and blue eyes. Steffey was last seen wearing all black clothing.
Mills said Steffey may be driving a White 1994 International semi with Illinois registration "62512VZ" and possibly marked with "Steffey Sod and Farms" on the door. A black trailer with Illinois registration "412846ST" may be attached to the semi. The trailer is a flatbed with a blue forklift attached to the rear of the trailer.
According to a sheriff's office report, a man heard a dump truck engine revving up at 1235 County Road 2500 E in rural St. Joseph at 9 a.m. Saturday. After the man who heard the noise drove to the location where he heard the noise and saw a man matching Steffey's description in his dump truck and saw the man leave the truck and walk away, he drove back home to get a cellphone to call police. When the victim returned to the scene, the man who had left the truck was gone.
Mills said that Steffey is also a suspect in the theft of a combine from a farm field in eastern Macon County early Friday.
According to a sheriff's report, the combine 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. The report 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. He said the person who took the combine left a John Deere Z777 riding lawn mower.
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.
Mills said that persons with information about Steffey should call 911 or Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477. Tips can also be sent online at http://www.373tips.com or by cellphone text message by sending Tip397 plus the information to CRIMES (274637).
The information you provide is confidential. You do not have to give your name or appear in court. Crimestoppers will pay a reward if the information you provide leads to an arrest for this crime. Cash rewards are also paid for information on other felony crimes or fugitives in the Champaign County area.