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Pumpkin heist leads to arrest at Oroville port

Man charged with theft of a motor vehicle last week

— A 61-year-old man who appeared out of place with an old farm truck filled with pumpkins was arrested Oct. 15 at the Oroville Port of Entry.

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George K. Ling

George Kenney Ling was charged Oct. 21 in Okanogan County Superior Court with theft of a motor vehicle after port authorities became suspicious, court records said.

Ling allegedly drove to the port of entry a few miles north of town in an attempt to enter Canada. He pulled up Oct. 22 in a beat-up dump truck with plywood sides, a headlight that didn’t work and damage to the front bumper.

Authorities believed Ling looked out of place with the vehicle and probably did not own the vehicle.

"He was not very cooperative."

Sheriff Frank Rogers

They also noticed the truck had expired plates and Ling allegedly did not have a valid operator’s license, court records said.

The truck had not been reported missing, but when Ling allegedly said he was taking the pumpkins to Alaska, authorities made a call.

The manager at AMF Farms of Burlington, which owns the truck and specializes in growing pumpkins, said he’d noticed the truck missing the night of Oct. 14. But he thought the truck was moved to a different location on the farm and had not reported it stolen, court records said.

He was surprised the truck made it to Oroville.

Ling was booked into the Okanogan County jail after midnight of the alleged pumpkin heist.

“He was not very cooperative,” Sheriff Frank Rogers said.

“He has a Texas driver’s license, but was living on the coast. It’s a (Washington State Patrol) case.”

Ling has been sent to Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake for evaluation.

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