Thief Steals Tractor From 4-H Club In South Jersey

Thief Steals Tractor From 4-H Club In South Jersey

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Where the tractor used to be Where the tractor used to be

You've heard the old saying stealing candy from a baby. Well, a low life crook stole from hundreds of kids at the 4-H center in Monroe, NJ.

When a crook stole a tractor from the Monroe Township 4-H center, he stole a piece of heavy equipment that's helped clear a path for some children to achieve their dreams

"I want to become a horse trainer," says one girl.

"Since someone stole the tractor; it's like taking away from stuff we could be learning here," says another kid. "We can't without the tractor."

Without the tractor, the South Jersey preserve and it's 30-miles of trails will become overgrown with brush. THis will make it unsafe for the 300 members of the 4-H horse team to navigate. Organizers say that when the kids don't mount up, they miss out on valuable life lessons.

"They're making critical decisions, taking responsibility and learning how to handle their animal. learning how to handle themselves," says Linda Strieter, a 4-H program coordinator.

The 1996 New Holland 1715 tractor was purchased with a grant by a non-profit four years ago. It was stolen out of a shed on South Black Horse Pike about two weeks ago. The attachments were left behind and can still be seen.

While the kids can't set up a sting operation, they have crafted posters urging the thief to bring back the tractor desperately needed to keep their programs buzzing. Some of these programs include bee keeping and dog training. They've helped improved these children's lives.

"It's really upsetting. It's kind of disgusting that someone would come and steal from a nonprofit," says Sarah Jacobo, who attends the 4-H K-9 Can Do Club.

"To have that taken away, it's completely destroying and terrible because you're stealing from kids," says Melanie Milne, a mother of a kid who attends 4-H. "Its disheartening. We do this all for the kids and that's all we have to keep up the property."

No leads yet on who stole the tractor. Program officials say to replace it will cost about $15,000, used. If they don't get donations, they'll have to rely on a grant, and that's not guaranteed.

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