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Tractor Supply theft caper grows to $25,000
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Ripon officers Mario Ysit and Ken Husman return two riding lawn mowers valued at $2,500 to the Tractor Supply Co. Ripon location on Jack Tone Road at the Highway 99 junction. The total theft has escalated to more than $25,000. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The alleged recent credit card fraud at the Ripon Tractor Supply Company that put a 53-year-old Railroad Flat man in jail on Saturday has now escalated to $25,000 in losses at several stores in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.,

The additional stores are O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and Home Depot in Stockton.

Ripon Police First Sergeant Steve Merchant said his officers have recovered more property from as far away as Galt that include a stolen construction trailer, a stolen Kubota tractor, two riding lawn mowers and multiple high-end sets of power tools.

Ripon investigators are working with law enforcement agencies in both counties to identify the new victims and return the stolen property.  Officers Mario Ysit and Ken Husman returned two large lawnmowers to Tractor Supply in Ripon early Wednesday afternoon.

When officers arrived at the store on Saturday, management personnel pointed out a subject who had made purchases totaling almost $2,000 that they recognized from theft warning photographs they had received from other Tractor Supply stores. 

Sgt. Merchant said the suspect, Shawn Michael Tegen, of Railroad Flat, was in the process of loading the property onto a trailer when the officers contacted him and began their investigation.  Officers located what appeared to be fraudulent credit cards in the man’s possession.  Further investigation revealed the fact that the suspect had reportedly made fraudulent purchases of some $5,000 at that time at three Tractor Supply Company stores in the two counties, he added.

Merchant said the Ripon Police Department will continue working with other law enforcement agencies to fully document the thefts and to return recovered stolen property to its owners.

The Ripon sergeant said the quick call from alert employees at the Ripon Tractor Supply store, combined with the determination of the responding officers to stop the suspect from preying on local businesses were the keys to the investigation.