In the latest example of tractor weight theft, a Moses Lake man is facing charges for allegedly attempting to recycle a number of weights, which authorities believe were stolen.

Man tries to recycle at least 39 stolen weights

For some time, we've seen catalytic converter thefts skyrocket in the Pacific Northwest and WA state.  They're pretty profitable to recycle. But with new emphasis and laws in place limiting how they can be recycled, thieves are turning to another source of metal: tractor weights.

They're used to allow tractors to pull heavier loads without the front end coming off the ground. They vary in shapes and sizes, the picture we have in this story is of John Deere weights, these ones are 65 lbs each. Sometimes they're called "suitcase" weights.

Recycling firm calls Deputies

June 3rd, a worker at Moses Lake Iron and Metal notified the Grant County Sheriff's office that Noe Mata had shown up at their facility with several of these weights in the back, along with circle wire.  However, he left without speaking to anyone and didn't try to recycle his cargo--perhaps because he sensed they were on to him.

Mata had previously recycled some materials at the facility.

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Five days later, via a search warrant on his Toyota pickup, Deputies found 39 such stolen weights as well as other materials. Mata offered to give them back, but his truck was seized as part of the investigation. Authorities also found what they said were "user amounts" of meth inside the vehicle.  He will be facing a variety of charges related to this incident.

Farmers around the region have been closely watching their implements lately, as this rash of weight theft is spreading rapidly.

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