75-Year-Old Maryland Man Seeking Tractor Thief

Took out newspaper ad, even hired private investigator to find missing John Deere

In 1957, Bob Fowler was 18 years old, and thinking about two big purchases.

One -- as befits an 18-year-old -- was a Dodge.

The other -- as befits a man who has lived in rural Mount Airy, Md. all his life -- was a tractor. A John Deere, to be specific, and that tractor stayed with Fowler far longer than the Dodge did.

It was in his family until last month, when someone stole the antique tractor that he had maintained for five and a half decades out of Fowler's front yard.

"I would like to get it back," said Fowler, now 75. "My son would like to have it, I am sure, once I am gone."

Fowler reported the tractor stolen to the police. He also took out an ad in the paper to try to find it.

He even hired a private investigator to track it down.

Fowler still works as an electrician. He's also a Mennonite. He is soft-spoken and did not want his face to be shown on TV. He is emotional about the loss of his tractor, but not vengeful.

When asked what he would say to the thief, he said, "'Give me my tractor back, and give me whatever money that I used to recover it.' And he goes his way, and I go my way."

And when asked if he could ever forgive the thief, he said, "I could."

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