CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Deputies received a call Monday that a man was trying to steal a 70-ton crane in Chilton County.

Johnny Kent Mims, 26, of Clanton was arrested Tuesday on a probation violation and first-degree theft charges.

On Monday, deputies received a call of a theft in progress on County Road 358. They responded to the scene and met with the complainant, who is an owner of a local wrecker service. The complainant told them that he was called by an individual to pull a crane out of a wooded area near a residence.

The crane as it was found by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office. (Courtesy of CCSO)

According to the complainant, Mims claimed the crane had been given to him and that he was taking it to a local scrap yard to sell. The complainant pulled the crane onto the roadway and remembered that he moved the same crane years ago for a local company. He called the owner of the company and learned that they did not give the crane away and that no one should have possession of it.

That’s when he called the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Mims attempted to drive the crane away but ran it into a ditch causing it to become disabled. He fled the scene before deputies arrived, but investigators identified him and located him the following day.

The crane was released back to the owner on the scene.

“We appreciate the concern by the local wrecker service in calling and reporting the incident,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “We have worked a lot of theft cases over the years, but this one definitely takes first place in the heavyweight category.”