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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Fort McCoy man arrested after admitting to trailer theft

A 53-year-old Fort McCoy man was arrested after he admitted to stealing a trailer that was parked near a Marion County residence.

On Saturday, March 12, a male victim contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to report that his trailer had been stolen. The victim told an MCSO deputy that he last saw his trailer near the side of his Marion County residence on or around Thursday, March 3, and it was missing when he returned on March 12.

The trailer was valued at around $2,000 and the victim stated that it was practically brand new. According to the victim, the trailer appeared to have been taken recently since it had rained heavily and the ground was dry where the trailer had been parked.

The deputy conducted a computer search and discovered that the trailer had traveled through the intersection of SW 80th Avenue and W Highway 40 shortly before 4:40 p.m. on March 11.

On March 12 at around 7:30 p.m., the deputy was informed by MCSO dispatch that the stolen trailer was observed traveling east on Highway 326 at the intersection of Baseline Road. The deputy responded to the location, located a black Chevrolet Blazer that was pulling a trailer, and a traffic stop was conducted near the 10700 block of E Highway 40.

The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was identified as Michael Lynn Moore.

Michael Lynn Moore
Michael Lynn Moore

Moore told the deputy that he did not have a valid driver’s license. During a pat-down search of Moore, the deputy located a crystal-like substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

A computer search of the trailer’s license plate and vehicle identification number confirmed that it belonged to the victim.

Moore initially claimed that a man named “Mark” had contacted him on March 11 with a request for Moore to take possession of the trailer. Moore stated that he drove to a local Publix where the trailer was located, and he attached it to his vehicle.

Moore told the deputy that he had received a phone call from “Mark,” and he gave the deputy permission to review the messages on his cellphone.

The deputy scrolled through text messages that were sent by Moore to one of his cellphone contacts. In those messages, Moore mentioned that he had a trailer that was “still like new.” He sent the contact five photographs of the trailer on March 12 at around 10:50 a.m., and he asked if the contact knew anyone who might be interested in purchasing the trailer.

The deputy showed these messages to Moore, and he admitted that he had stolen the trailer. He stated that he was under the impression that the property near the trailer was abandoned since it appeared that no one was living there. The trailer looked new and Moore decided to take it.

On March 11, after Moore ended his shift at work, he stated that he drove to the victim’s residence and hooked the trailer to his vehicle. He also admitted that he entered the victim’s unlocked shed and he removed multiple items which included a leaf blower and paint sprayer. He also took a lawn mower and steel luggage carrier from the victim’s yard, and the stolen items were placed inside the trailer.

Moore then drove to a friend’s house where he left the trailer parked overnight. He returned to the friend’s house the following morning to retrieve it, and he told the deputy that he had plans to either sell or trade the trailer so he could purchase a motorcycle.

Moore was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $19,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for burglary, dealing in stolen property, grand theft (less than $5,000), and possession of a controlled substance, along with misdemeanor charges for driving without a valid license and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A court date has been scheduled on Tuesday, April 12 at 9 a.m., according to jail records.