Local News

Vandals on ATVs Destroy N.C. State Researchers' Cornfields

Posted August 27, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Johnston County investigators have some new leads on the vandalism of several corn fields in Clayton.

Last weekend, vandals mowed down valuable cross-breeding research at N.C. State's Central Crops Research Station near Clayton that could, one day, help scientists develop disease-resistant corn.

"This time, they've really done some damage," says crop science professor Major Goodman. "From the damage done to the corn fields alone, I would guess it's in the vicinity of $50,000."

Goodman says someone tore down part of a fence and carelessly drove past "No Trespassing" signs on four-wheelers into the fields.

In a typical farmer's field, it may be a minor inconvenience because some corn does not make it to market. For scientists, the damage can compromise years of research.

"Basically, we've set an entire project back about a year," Goodman says.

Neighboring homeowner Marie Barrow says she has watched teenagers trespassing with the all-terrain vehicles.

"What are they going to do next? I mean it's a shame," she says.

TheJohnston County Sheriff's Officeis investigating the crop vandalism. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call919-989-5046.