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Vandals Plunder $55K Worth of Pickles, Equipment

Posted March 9, 2007

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— Police are probing vandalism in which someone polluted pickle-production tanks with diesel fuel, ruining about $55,000 worth of food and equipment at Hobgood Produce and Farms.

This week an employee checking the vats in Hobgood, discovered something wrong, police said Friday.

“When I got there, I found that he had 11 of these vats that been contaminated with what appeared to be diesel fuel,” Hobgood Police Chief Joe Williams explained.

Williams said it appeared someone intentionally poured diesel fuel in with about 11,000 bushels of cucumbers in the processing tanks. He called in the FBI, State Bureau of Investigation and the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Investigators say whoever contaminated the vats will face felony charges.

The department’s Food and Drug Protection Division is testing samples from nearly 200 containers. The company had to shut down for several days, though trucks began rolling again Friday.

Hobgood disposed of the contaminated pickles.

“We will not tolerate any product leaving that facility that we detect any level of chemical contamination,” said Joe Reardon director of the food protection division.

The company will have to throw away several wooden vats, but may be able to save some plastic ones, officials said.

Williams said he investigated a report that someone tampered with one of the diesel fuel tanks at the company three weeks ago, and officials are trying to determine if that was the fuel that ended up in with the cucumbers.

There had been no threats, and none of the contaminated food made it to store shelves, so the incident is considered serious vandalism for now.

“I don't think they had the intentions of contaminating the product that someone would eat,” Williams said.


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  • doughboy Mar 11, 2007

    Aunt BEE would be proud!

  • Lawman428 Mar 11, 2007


  • mopar.bo Mar 10, 2007

    Aw, man. Not the pickles. Is nothing sacred?

  • painexpress Mar 10, 2007

    Instead of kosher dills, they could sell diesel dills.

  • Brain-Dead Religious Freak Mar 10, 2007

    I pray that no one is harmed by the poisoned pickles. Especially the children. Please God protect our little ones from the poison pickles. God bless!

  • luvtoflymycessna Mar 10, 2007

    well they sure aren't peppered pickles are they? LOL

  • browneyez27893 Mar 10, 2007

    Sounds like Aunt Bee's kerosene cucumbers. They won't ever win a blue ribbon at the county fair but they make one heck of a candle. Hahahaha But seriously though, I sure hope they catch the sicko wack job that did this. And thank God that none of the pickles made it to stores across the country.

  • Mr 911 Mar 10, 2007

    how the heck is the piper gonna pick a poisoned pickled pickle

  • Wildman Mar 10, 2007

    qui.....roflmmfao....thanks I needed that

    if peter piper poisoned a peck of pickled peppers

  • fyiarp Mar 9, 2007

    Those poor, innocent pickles.