Stolen Tractor

The stolen John Deere tractor Joseph Bollom was driving on Del Monte Avenue was filled with stolen items from other burglaries he committed.  

It took a blown stop sign and a suspicious lane change for tipsters to alert the Monterey Police Department on the evening of Sunday, March 28 that the man driving the John Deere 410J tractor on Del Monte Avenue near Wharf 2 possibly should not be driving the tractor.

When police found 56-year-old Joseph Bollom behind the wheel of the wayward construction vehicle at 7:34pm, they noticed exposed wires hanging near the ignition and suspected Bollom might be under the influence of narcotics. When they finally got him off the tractor, they discovered he was carrying $239 in small bills and $42.70 in coins, which included 111 dimes and 77 nickels, according to Lt. Ethan Andrews.

Officers grew suspicious. In the tractor’s loader, police found construction tools and what appeared to be items from a hotel. Suspicions heightened. Further investigation found Bollom was squatting at a vacant property in the 600 block of Robinson Street in Monterey, only five blocks where officers pulled him off the tractor. He allegedly blacked out the property’s windows with black spray paint.

At the property, police found a variety of possessions they linked to several other recent burglaries in the area. Police determined the wad of small bills and piles of change in his pockets were linked to the burglary of a local parking ticket machine from earlier in the day; they found coffee machines and roll-away cots stolen from a Munras Avenue hotel on March 27 and 28; and an iPad and construction site tools were linked to two separate robberies from the same day.

Andrews, a 15-year veteran of the Monterey Police Department, says this was the first case he’s seen of someone getting pulled over on a stolen tractor.

“It’s incredible because they are not easy to steer and not easy to operate,” Andrews says. “He claimed to have some experience. He had been driving it for several hours.”

Bollom was booked in Monterey County Jail on a number of charges: burglary, burglary during a state of emergency, possession of stolen property, vandalism, driving under the influence of drugs, parole hold and obstructing a peace officer. Bollom’s bail was initially set at $10,000, but police were granted their request to the court to have it raised to $50,000.

Christopher Neely covers a mixed beat that includes the environment, water politics, and Monterey County's Board of Supervisors. He began at the Weekly in 2021 after five years on the City Hall beat in Austin, TX.

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