Tractor joyride

The John Deere tractor and 44-foot corn planter taken on a joy ride July 8.

A Mineral County man who took a tractor pulling a 44-foot corn planter on a joy ride up River Road is wanted on a felony charge.

Anthony Wayne Amoruso, 24, of Piedmont was arrested and released on July 9, when the charge was a misdemeanor and he made bail.

But when tractor owner Chris Miltenberger reported more than $13,000 damage to his equipment, the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office swore out a new warrant for felony destruction of property and has been looking for Amoruso since.

Anyone with information of Amoruso’s whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 304-822-3894.

The story begins on a Monday night, July 8, when a 911 call said a vehicle was broken down on River Road, which runs south from U.S. 50 just west of Romney.

The caller complained of 2 suspicious individuals around the vehicle, a man and woman who fled into the woods when police arrived.

The next morning, a woman called 911 around 6 to say an unknown female was asleep on her sofa.

Then, within an hour, another female resident of River Road called 911 saying that a suspicious man was at her door asking to use her telephone.

He left, but deputies looked for him and he refused commands when they located him. In searching him, deputies found a tractor key and called Miltenberger, a Mineral County man who farms corn up and down the South Branch Valley.

Miltenberger told deputies the key was missing from his tractor and it wasn’t where he left it.

Deputies investigated and found a 70-foot stretch of barbed wire fence broken and a couple of mailboxes knocked down, leading to the original misdemeanor charge of petit larceny – theft result in less than $1,000 loss — and another of obstructing an officer.

“This planter is 44 feet wide and it was folded out on the planting position when the young man tried to drive both directions on River Road,” Miltenberger said. “Needless to say, it didn’t.”

Miltenberger discovered problems with the onboard computer and electrical lines that led to the new charge. He finished planting a week ago in Wiley Ford. o

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