Four adults were arrested in the theft of hogs from a farm near the Ohio-Indiana state line. According to Mercer County (Ohio) Sheriff Jeff Grey, his office had received multiple reports of stolen hogs in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the sheriff reported that Ricky L. Crouch, 50, of Bryant, Ind., and Chad M. Crouch, 28, of Celina, Ohio, were charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony. Lisa R. Crouch, 42, also of Bryant, Ind., and Christina L. Crouch, 29, of Celina, Ohio, were charged with receiving stolen property, a first-degree misdemeanor.
An investigation determined that the two men were removing hogs from a facility in Ohio (Mercer County) and taking them to a site near Bryant, Ind. (Jay County). The two women were arrested at a nearby livestock company attempting to sell the stolen hogs. All four are being held in the Mercer County Detention Facility.
A search of the Indiana site uncovered more stolen hogs.
Hog and cattle thefts have been reported in various states over the past year as high hog and cattle prices entice criminals. Last spring and again last fall a rash of thefts surfaced in Iowa and Minnesota, involving several hundred head of feeder pigs and even market-weight hogs. Suspects were eventually arrested.
Because hog facilities are often located in remote areas, they can be an easy target. Often perpetrators remove a few hogs at a time, making it harder to discover that animals are missing.
Kent Mower, field specialist with the Coalition for Iowa’s Farmers, suggests pork producers take such precautions as limit access to the site by gating entrances, lock up facilities when no one is around, add security lighting, install security cameras and share contact information with neighbors.