After his midnight shift began on a Wednesday evening late last January, Macon police officer Troy Guidry sent a text message to a buddy on the force.
“Ready to go shopping tonight,” Guidry’s text to officer Jon Wantz said.
For weeks, Guidry had had his eyes peeled for a tractor. He’d been wanting to spruce up the tree line around his 2½ acre yard in eastern Monroe County.
As it happened, a small Kubota tractor, an orange one with a backhoe on it, was parked inside the gate at the Mr. Rooter plumbing company on Roff Avenue, less than a minute’s drive from the Pio Nono Avenue precinct office where Wantz and Guidry were based.
Guidry texted Wantz again: “I think you had a good idea about that little orange one at the rooter place.” Guidry added that if he spotted a tractor loaded on a trailer, “its mine.”
A few hours later, about midnight, the two cops scoped out the plumbing company while on duty. The gate was open.
A man who lives nearby heard one of the officers announcing his presence, saying, “Macon police,” as if to ward anyone off.
Wantz and Guidry took turns using Wantz’s pellet rifle to shoot out the plumbing company’s security lights. They exchanged texts about how those “lights are tough” to bust.
Guidry texted Wantz, his lookout: “As soon as I get that light I’m getting the trailer.”
With the trailer, the tractor on it, hitched to Guidry’s pickup, Wantz, in his squad car, escorted Guidry north to the Monroe County line.
They hadn’t known that a surveillance camera at the FedEx on Roff Avenue had recorded their getaway. Or that the tractor’s owners had outfitted the Kubota with a GPS tracker that, when the tractor was cranked, pinpointed its location.
Not long after his shift ended about daybreak, Guidry arrived home. A neighbor saw him, still in uniform, driving the tractor. Around the same time, someone at Mr. Rooter checked a computer screen and realized one of the company’s tractors, a $24,000 Kubota, was somewhere it shouldn’t be -- 14 miles up Ga. Highway 87 near Lake Juliette.
About 8:30 a.m., Monroe sheriff’s deputies wheeled into Guidry’s dirt driveway.
Guidry sent Wantz an urgent text: “Cops are here!!!”
“Well, good luck with that,” Wantz replied, perhaps unsure whether Guidry was kidding.
But Guidry’s text to Wantz half an hour later left little doubt.
“I’m so f----d,” it said.
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This story is based on details in a Macon Police Department investigative file, which The Telegraph examined after Guidry and Wantz were sentenced to prison in mid-November...