Three different vehicles were stolen from three different Fulton County businesses in the early morning hours Feb. 17.
Hill's Auto Sales, Cowart & Sons Used Cars and Equipment, and Leon's Cabinet Shop, all Salem-based businesses, were victims in a spree of destruction and theft, according to authorities.
Authorities estimate that at approximately 4:30 a.m. someone went to Hill's Auto Sales, located along Highway 62 east, and drove off in a 2001 Ford F250 pickup.
Owner Brandon Hill said someone broke into two vehicles on his lot. A radio was removed from one truck. The individual then removed the license plate from the Ford truck, left it at the business and drove away using a screw driver in the ignition, he said.
Hill said authorities located the stolen vehicle at approximately 6:30 a.m. at the thief's second stop, Cowart & Sons Used Cars and Equipment, located along Highway 62 west.
Apparently the pickup stolen from Hill's lot was used to break down the front gates of the business, according to owner Ralph Cowart.
Cowart said the individual backed over the fence to the businesses' diesel pump to refuel; however, the tank was empty.
He said Hill's vehicle was left on his property, still running, and a 1992 Ford mechanic's vehicle was taken in its place.
Cowart said Leon Graves, owner of Leon's Cabinet Shop -- the last stop on the thief's trail -- was the first to inform him of the missing vehicle.
"(Graves) called to ask me if I had a truck missing," said Cowart. "Leon (Graves) said 'Well they was real nice -- they parked it under the shed after they took mine.'"
Graves said a white 2001 Ford flatbed pickup was stolen from his business. Sharp County authorities found his vehicle later that afternoon in Ash Flat. The vehicle sustained damage from the forced entry, and the ignition switch will need to be repaired, Graves said.
Hill said he was lucky -- the radio taken from one truck was found in the stolen pickup, and there was about $1,000 worth of damage to the truck bed.
Cowart said there were minor damages to his diesel pump and ignition switch on the stolen truck, and his front fence will need to be replaced.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Fulton County Sheriff's Department at 870-895-2601.