An elderly cattle rancher recently came face-to-face with three thieves on his property, and he took the matter into his own hands. The thieves might have been arrested if Vance West had been able to get someone to help him. (Petoskey News)
Vance West, 92, is a veteran and father of three. He lives by himself outside Bois d’Arc on more than 100 acres.
“See, there’s where they left,” he told a reporter, pointing out tire tracks. “They will be back. I think they will be back.”
West says three men stole nearly $3,000 worth of equipment from one of his sheds. He missed the first time they came around, but not the second.
“He started climbing over the gate, and I told him not to climb over. He climbed over anyway, so I pulled a gun on him,” West said.
“I told him, ‘Do you see where it’s cocked?’ He says, ‘I can see,’” West said. “He was sassy. He told me he wasn’t going to do it.”
The men got away when West tried to flag down someone on his county road.
It’s cases like this that recently caused Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott to create a temporary task force to investigate a rash of burglaries in rural areas of the county.
“It was a short term project but we feel it was very successful,” said Arnott.
Anott says, since January, two dozen people were arrested thanks to the campaign.
“The reason why I couldn’t continue this, because I was asked, ‘Can you keep this going?’ is there are areas of work that were neglected while they were on special assignment,” Arnott said. “Just because of manpower, I can’t do it all the time.”
While the task force might be done for now, West is still keeping an eye out.
“I have no respect for a thief. I have no respect for them,” he said. “They work harder at that than they would a job.
“I hope I could catch them one more time – one!”
The sheriff says, if voters next month approve a half-percent sales tax for law enforcement needs in Greene County, he will be able to hire more patrol deputies for rural areas of the county.