Citizen Catches Suspect Riding Stolen John Deere Gator Along Highway 97

August 16, 2022

An Alabama man was  caught driving a farmer’s stolen John Deere Gator Sunday night, hours after it was stolen from a Highway 97 barn.

Mason Reece Kelly, age 21 of Bay Minette, was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, unarmed burglary of an unoccupied structure,  felony larceny, and criminal mischief with property damage.

Kelly was one of two people who allegedly burglarized a large barn on Highway 97 near Pelt Road in Walnut Hill about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. A 2018 John Deere Gator valued at $25,000, a chemical sprayer worth $3,000 in the back of the Gator, a LED light bar with $100 on the front of the Gator, four  DeWalt drill battery chargers valued at $300 each, four Milwaukee drill battery chargers valued at $200 each, three John Deere battery chargers worth $200 each and a red 5-gallon gas can valued at $35. They also damaged nine metal doors to a cotton picker head worth $400 each by running over them with the Gator.

After daylight Sunday, deputies search the area for the stolen Gator but were unsuccessful.

About 9:30 Sunday night, a friend of the property owner spotted a man later identified as Kelly on the stolen Gator driving north on Highway 97 toward Alabama, according to an arrest report. The friend escorted Kelly and the Gator back to the Davisville Community Center on Highway 97 and called law enforcement.

For more photos, click or tap here.

The victim’s friend stated Kelly took off a blue shirt and placed it on the Gator. A deputy noted in his report that the shirt and a hat in the Gator appeared to be the same items worn by a suspect in surveillance video of the burglary. Deputies also seized a flashlight from Kelly’s pocket that was believed to be the one used during the burglary.

The Gator, sprayer and attached light bat were returned to the owner. At last report, the battery chargers and gas can were still missing.

Kelly remained in the Escambia County Jail Tuesday morning with bond set at $10,000. photos, click to enlarge.


20 Responses to “Citizen Catches Suspect Riding Stolen John Deere Gator Along Highway 97”

  1. Florida logger on August 18th, 2022 10:36 pm

    He going pick wrong home one day his grandpa can’t bail him out of funeral home

  2. Jcellops on August 18th, 2022 9:57 am

    The farmer is still out $1,200 for the battery chargers, damaged $3,600 worth of doors to the cotton picker head- who knows if that can be repaired too it’s original state…. effecting the potential loss of harvested crops. If the farmer files an insurance claim, will his rates go up because of this?? And, I’m quite sure this hard-working farmer has much better things to do than spend time fooling around with paperwork, phone calls and court activities in town. This reckless, self-absorbed “child” in a man’s body deserves a bond higher than $10,000! (He’s probably out already!) I just hope that the sentencing judge provides him with an opportunity to experience REAL consequences for his thoughtless crimes.

  3. Shirley Hales on August 17th, 2022 3:59 pm

    Looks like he was trying to pull a George Jones

  4. Hmmm on August 17th, 2022 12:04 pm

    @Citizen –

    >“A friend escorted the Kelly and the Gator”

    >Lol.. Kinda makes one wonder if there may be a little more in between the lines there.

    >Love it. ❤️

    Yeah, I believe there’s a lot contained in that word “escorted” seeing how this punk didn’t try to take off with the Gator or run.

  5. Bayminette on August 17th, 2022 8:23 am

    He has stolen from everyone in his home area and his grandfather has lots of money and somehow always gets him out of it.maybe sense it’s Florida this time it will be different well known around my neighborhood.

  6. MIke on August 17th, 2022 7:56 am

    I had a trailer stole in the area also within the last couple of weeks.

  7. Walnut Hill Resident on August 17th, 2022 12:32 am

    @Jr I completely agree. Backroad justice is a thing! We protect what we have worked hard to build and worked to have! The HILL is the best place to live! What a piece of work to steal from a hard working farmer? How low do you get?!

  8. Bill T on August 16th, 2022 9:01 pm

    You can work on it 24/7 and never and I mean never will it get any better !!! It will always remain the same !!!! You are probably wondering what I’m talking about well here it is YA CANT FIX STUPID!!!!!!

  9. Karl Aeppli on August 16th, 2022 3:08 pm

    I had a trailer and 4 wheeler stole in that area. Any chance he has it?

  10. Citizen on August 16th, 2022 2:01 pm

    “A friend escorted the Kelly and the Gator”

    Lol.. Kinda makes one wonder if there may be a little more in between the lines there.

    Love it. ❤️

  11. Ryals on August 16th, 2022 1:36 pm

    Thank you sir for being a friend of LEOS!!!!!!

  12. Kathy on August 16th, 2022 1:05 pm

    It’s sad that these hard working farmers have to deal with A thief!!! Get a job pay for thing with your own will learn to appreciate things that you work hard for set some goals for yourself in this life… nothing was ever given to me I work hard for everything I need!! And or want glad this guy was captured and will now face Reality.

  13. Bama on August 16th, 2022 1:02 pm

    We’ll, I guess the stupid ones get caught. I just wonder if he was going to drive it back to Bay Minette or steal a trailer

  14. Thank goodness for morons on August 16th, 2022 12:41 pm

    So they stole this unit , and within 24 hours , they decide it’s fine to ride down the road in the same area they stole the unit from..
    The level of stupidity these days is absolutely unbelievable.. SMH
    But im glad the owner got his stuff back.. Hopefully these criminals are punished for this.. I can not stand a thief.!! And have been on the losing end more than once.. But I didn’t get my stuff back.. And yes, I knew the low lives who stole from me on both occasions.. No.. they were not punished or held accountable.. I hope these will be..

  15. Stanley Beech on August 16th, 2022 9:29 am

    Make this thug harvest the whole crop by hand and when he finishes he works 12 hours a day on that farm for a year, He’ll think twice before stealing anything else, If it doesn’t work, let him bust rocks with a 14 lb maul 7 days a week 12 hours a day,

  16. John on August 16th, 2022 6:57 am

    With farmers having a hard time, now they have to deal with knucklehead thieves!

  17. sam on August 16th, 2022 6:36 am

    I’m guessing he will be out and stealing again in a day or so.

  18. Jr on August 16th, 2022 5:29 am

    Way to go to the friend and LEOs. These thefts need to be stopped. That’s a bad area up that way to get pulling this crap. That “backroads” justice could have been done but cooler heads prevailed in this one. No, I do not condone that type of behavior but y’all know what I mean. I’m just glad the property owner got their stuff back and all is good now back up on the HILL.

  19. Pitiful on August 16th, 2022 4:42 am

    So sick of thieves. All the way from Bat Minette stealing property.

  20. Just saying on August 16th, 2022 2:25 am

    Smirk on his face

    Don’t mess with a man’s livelihood.

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