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Gammons says state initiative to assign ID #s to farm equpiment should cut farm theft

Last updated: December 06. 2013 4:20PM - 2226 Views
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A Lafayette man was arrested for stealing seven hogs on Tuesday of last week after being caught trying to resell them. The value of these 80-pound pigs is estimated at $1,200 altogether, owner John Harlin estimates.


Curtis L. Strong, age 24, is accused of going to the Harlin farm at about 11 PM one night with two other juveniles. They allegedly loaded the pigs into a van to transport them back to Strong's residence at 89 Seth Lane in Lafayette. Tuesday morning, the men allegedly loaded four of the pigs into a small trailer attached to a white Blazer. Witnesses in the Winklers Community noticed the trailer with the pigs and, suspecting foul play, called the law.


Strong opened negotiations to sell the pigs to local man Wayne Wilson, according to Sheriff Mark Gammons. Gammons said that Wilson “had no idea that the pigs were stolen.”


The pigs were traced to their owner and Strong was arrested December 3, along with the two minors. Sheriff Gammons stated, “We are thankful to have the help of the community in recovering these pigs for Mr. Harlin.” The pigs, he said, were bought for Harlin's son as show pigs to raise for money.


Strong was charged with theft of property over $1,000 and criminal trespassing. His court date is set for January 8, and his bond was set at $2,000.


Gammons said that he is meeting with the Board of Directors at the TN Sheriffs Association. They are working on a partnership with the State Agriculture Department and Farm Bureau to establish a Farm Equipment ID number program. Each farmer will be given an ID number for all equipment that does not qualify for a VIN number.


This State-wide initiative would help law enforcement recover stolen farm equipment, which currently has no distinguishing registration system. This means, according to Gammons, “when we do have farm thefts, the equipment would be easier to identify.” The program is expected to be up and running in early 2014.


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