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Weighty case: Alabama man charged in theft of 70-ton crane

March 21, 2022 GMT
This photo provided by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office in Clanton, Ala., shows a 70-ton crane that was allegedly stolen on Monday, March 14, 2022. A man was arrested after calling a towing service asking to have it removed from woods, authorities said. (Chilton County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This photo provided by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office in Clanton, Ala., shows a 70-ton crane that was allegedly stolen on Monday, March 14, 2022. A man was arrested after calling a towing service asking to have it removed from woods, authorities said. (Chilton County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This photo provided by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office in Clanton, Ala., shows a 70-ton crane that was allegedly stolen on Monday, March 14, 2022. A man was arrested after calling a towing service asking to have it removed from woods, authorities said. (Chilton County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This photo provided by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office in Clanton, Ala., shows a 70-ton crane that was allegedly stolen on Monday, March 14, 2022. A man was arrested after calling a towing service asking to have it removed from woods, authorities said. (Chilton County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This photo provided by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office in Clanton, Ala., shows a 70-ton crane that was allegedly stolen on Monday, March 14, 2022. A man was arrested after calling a towing service asking to have it removed from woods, authorities said. (Chilton County Sheriff's Office via AP)

CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man who called a wrecker service asking to have a 70-ton crane pulled out of the woods is now charged with stealing the heavy machinery, sheriff’s officials said.

The owner of a towing service contacted the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, saying the man had called claiming someone gave him the crane, and he wanted it removed so he could sell it for scrap, the agency said in a statement.

The wrecker service owner recalled moving the same crane a few years before and contacted its owner, who denied having given it away. The towing operator then called law enforcement. The man who wanted the crane moved fled before officers arrived, driving the rig into a ditch where it became stuck.

The 26-year-old Clanton man was arrested Tuesday on a probation violation and first-degree theft charges. Court records didn’t include the name of a defense attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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“We have worked a lot of theft cases over the years, but this one definitely takes first place in the heavyweight category,” Sheriff John Shearon’s office said in a statement, thanking the wrecker service.

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In a story published March 18, 2022, about the alleged theft of a crane, The Associated Press erroneously reported the city where the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office is located as Chilton. It is Clanton, Alabama.