Irvine man leads State Police to his backhoe which was stolen last year

IRVINE, Ky. (WKYT) - Tommy King says the last 14 months have been difficult. He's spent much of it chasing down leads on his stolen backhoe. He says the search for the $87,000 piece of equipment paid off last week.

"We wanted to quit a few times but people would just keep calling in with a little hint or a little clue here and there," King said.

King says the 2002 Super M Loader backhoe was how he made a living, until it disappeared last May.

When police told him they didn't have any leads he took it upon himself to begin calling friends and knocking on stranger's doors.

"We had a lot of friends that tried to help us find it," King said. "We went from Harlan County to Virginia, all over the state."

He says a story on WKYT helped get the word out. Even with that exposure he had to ask a lot of questions.

"We was in some pretty rough places the 14 months we were looking for it."

A tip sent him to Owsley County. He was told someone was using it to dig underground cable in Virginia but was storing it in Booneville.

"We finally went up there last Friday and there it sat, and I knew it was mine and I was a happy camper when I seen it," he said.

Kentucky State Police were there within minutes. He had his backhoe, but it had some wear.

"The tires are ruined, the back windows have been removed, primer paint on the decals."

But the backhoe was still in good enough condition that he was able to drive it, at 20 miles per hour, back to Irvine. He says state police have told him they will be serving warrants on the people responsible any day now.

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