ROMNEY — The Hampshire County grand jury handed up indictments on 18 people last week, including the Mineral County man who took a tractor with a 44-foot corn planter attached to it on a joy ride in July.
Anthony Wayne Amoruso, 25, was charged with 2 counts of destruction of property after a July joy ride up River Road on a tractor with a 44-foot corn planter attached.
Amoruso was hit with a felony count of destruction because the damage he apparently did to the tractor exceeded $2,500 and a misdemeanor count to cover the fencing and mailboxes he took out.
Amoruso’s saga began on 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 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 Chris 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.
“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 later discovered problems with the onboard computer and electrical lines that led to the new charge, leading to the felony destruction charge.