Two men were arrested recently for allegedly stealing a large excavator from a job site along Interstate 77.
Ryan M. Marcum, 28, 392 Happy Hollow Road, Fort Gay, West Virginia, was charged with grand larceny.
Christopher L. Ball, 39, 1900 Davis Branch Road, Prichard, West Virginia, was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony (grand larceny).
Around 2:43 a.m. on Monday, April 8, Deputy C.R. Saltsgaver of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department saw a black Dodge Ram pickup pulling a utility trailer with a Caterpillar excavator on the trailer. The truck was entering Interstate 77 southbound at the Kenna entrance ramp.
Saltsgaver noticed the vehicle had its flashers on and the utility trailer was missing a taillight. Additionally, the trailer was unsafe and undersized for the load it was carrying, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court.
The trailer’s fenders were rubbing the tires, the rear of the trailer was dragging the ground, and the center of the trailer was bowed, according to the complaint. The registration was mounted on the fender, was not illuminated, and not visible. Saltsgaver also noted the vehicle was moving too slowly to properly merge onto the highway.
Saltsgaver stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, whom he identified as Marcum, and the passenger, identified as Ball.
According to the complaint, Saltsgaver explained the reason for the stop and asked Marcum about the excavator. Marcum stated he and Ball worked for P&G Construction and were bringing the excavator home from a work site in Pennsylvania.
Deputy S.C. Fisher arrived and asked Marcum if he had a rental agreement or paperwork for the excavator. Fisher noted a pre-operation checklist for the vehicle in plain view, which indicated the excavator had been used at a job site in Ripley as recently as April 2.
Marcum stated he and Ball left Pennsylvania around 7 p.m. Ball stated they had been there for a week with the vehicle, but he said they had left around noon.
During a search, Deputy B. DeWees found a receipt in Ball’s Wallet from a gas station in Huntington dated April 7, which did not match the story the two individuals had just told the officers, according to the complaint.
When asked about the date on the receipt, Ball stated that he and Marcum had stolen the excavator from a job site on Interstate 77 near Silverton.
The excavator, truck, and trailer were towed from the scene by Haynes Wrecker Service.
Saltsgaver spoke with a representative of Mountaineer Contracting, who identified the excavator as a Caterpillar 303C owned by his company. He said it had been parked in the Silverton on I-77.