2nd man arrested in theft of Levy backhoe

Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.

The second of two men suspected of stealing a Levy County backhoe has been arrested.

Oakley Levi Hatten IV, 29, of Morriston, was arrested late last week. His co-defendant, Mitchell R. Osborn, 32, of Trenton, was arrested in March. Both men have been charged with grand theft in connection with the June 22, 2010, theft of a $50,000 Caterpillar backhoe from a Levy County Road Department work site.

According to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Hatten and Osborn moved the Caterpillar from the work site off Alternate U.S. 27 between Bronson and Williston.

Deputies said it appeared the men tried to load the heavy equipment onto a trailer but failed and then drove it to a wooded area, where it was found about two months later.

Investigators said Osborn told them that Hatten approached him about stealing the Caterpillar and Hatten was the one who drove it.

Once the big machine was parked in the woods, Osborn said Hatten gave him five prescription painkillers for participating in the theft.

During his interview with investigators, Hatten said the theft was Osborn’s idea, that Osborn paid him $300 to drive the Caterpillar and that he tried to encourage Osborn to tell the Road Department where to find the Caterpillar.

The investigation is continuing this week as officials try to determine whether anyone else may have been involved.

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