Men use forklift, cherry picker to steal 2-ton safe

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 16:18:31-05

WANETTE, Okla. (KFOR) - Two men are accused of using a forklift to break into a tag agency and steal a two-ton safe.

Deputies were called to the tag agency in Wanette near the beginning of December after employees discovered the break-in.

“The front door, the glass is completely busted out, and the crowbar they used to try to pry the door open was on the ground,” said Pottawatomie County Dep. Amber Wells.

Inside, the agency offices were trashed, driver’s license machines were broken and walls were torn down.

“They were in there for a good three, three and a half hours,” Dep. Wells said. “They used a forklift to get into the backdoor and pry it open.”

Then they used a cherry picker from the connecting business, Wanette Tractor, to drag the safe out of the building and onto a white Chevy truck they were driving.

"There were over 157 tags taken and probably 100 more of decals," Dep. Wells said. Also in the safe were laptops, collector belt buckles, important papers and binders full of blank checks for Wanette Tractor.

A couple of days later, the emptied safe was found on the side of the road in Ada. It was still sitting on the truck bed, but the rest of the truck was gone.

“With the safe being heavy, when they tried to pull out of the back of the truck, it pulled the tailgate off, so we were now looking for a white Chevy truck with no tailgate,” Dep. Wells said.

Not long afterward, that truck was involved in a pursuit with Dustin Adam Hoots allegedly in the passenger seat. He escaped that time but was picked up later in Johnston County on a different charge.

Also in the Johnston County jail at that time was Adam Black Hamilton.

"[Hoots] has a running buddy," Dep. Wells said. "Apparently this individual can’t do anything by himself, so he has somebody with him, and that running buddy of his was also in Johnston county jail."

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She interviewed both men, during which time Hamilton allegedly told her he hasn't been in Wanette since high school.

But the deputy found out he had been wearing an ankle monitor during the time of the theft, so she contacted his parole officer.

"We were able to pull his GPS locations from his ankle monitor. It showed December 1st, 2019, from 12 a.m. to about 3:35 a.m. he was here at Wanette Tractor," Dep. Wells said.

She also said it tied him to several other crimes in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties.

Now both men are awaiting new charges.