A Caddo Mills man whom authorities claim has a fondness for construction equipment may want to find a more conventional mode of transportation to take to his next court appearance.

On the other hand, John Marcus Ballard may not have to travel that far, as he remained in custody at the Hunt County Jail after the judge in his felony theft case hiked his bond when he failed to show for his arraignment hearing.

Ballard, 33, was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in November on one count of theft of property of the value of between $100,000 and $200,000 by aggregate amount.

Ballard is accused in the indictment of stealing a 1995 Fiat-Allis Grader on June 22, a 2005 John Deere backup on June 28 and a 1994 Caterpillar roller on July 2, 2005.

Ballard was scheduled to be arraigned on the charge in the 354th District Court on Dec. 20. When Ballard failed to show, Judge Richard A. Beacom forfeited the defendant’s $1,000 and ordered a warrant for his arrest.

Ballard was taken into custody and was brought to court for arraignment last Thursday, at which time Beacom set his bond at $20,000. Ballard entered a plea of not guilty and a tentative trial date was set for May 18.

The theft charge is a second degree felony, punishable by a maximum sentence upon conviction of from two to 20 years in prison, with an optional fine of up to $10,000.

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