YORK COUNTY — Two Chester County brothers have been charged with stealing a tractor from a storage shed behind a home in Dover Township Tuesday morning, according to Northern York Regional Police.
Michael Wayne Neff, 32, and Brandon Scott Neff, 37, both of Nottingham, are charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property, police say.
Michael Neff allegedly confessed to taking the tractor when police were investigating another attempted burglary involving the brothers, who were caught removing items from the shed by the owner of the property the shed was located on, police say. The property owner reported that the tractor had been taken from the shed the previous week.
Michael Neff allegedly told police he had purchased the items for $100, responding to a person named “Dave” who posted an ad on Craigslist, police say. He allegedly told police “Dave” said they could remove any items they wanted from the shed in exchange for the money, police say.
But Michael Neff said he had deleted the text messages he had exchanged with “Dave” while arranging the transaction, and was unable to produce the Craigslist ad he claimed he was responding to, according to police. He allegedly stated he and his brother had met “Dave” on the property, located on the 2000 block of Park Street, and gave him the money, at which point “Dave” left, police say.
Both brothers confirmed the property owner, who reported the alleged theft to police, was not “Dave,” police say.
They also both said they had no involvement with the theft of the tractor the week before, according to police.
Police say they continued to question both brothers at the Northern York Regional Police station. Michael Neff allowed police to search his cell phone, according to police. Investigators could not find any evidence of the Craigslist ad or any text messages with “Dave” arranging the alleged transaction, police say.
They did, however, find a picture of the stolen tractor from the previous week, according to police. In the photo, Brandon Neff is seen tying the tractor into the back of Michael Neff’s truck, police say.
When confronted with the photo, Michael Neff allegedly confessed that he had gone to the property because he thought it was abandoned and took the tractor, falsely claiming to his brother that he had bought it, according to police.
Michael Neff allegedly told police he only told his brother that he hadn’t buy any of the property when police arrived, and convinced him to provide a physical description of a relative of theirs to police when asked what “Dave” looked like, so that their stories would be the same.
He allegedly provided a written confession, police say.