Local News

Hog Thieves Plague Sampson County Farmers

Posted May 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The neighbors haven't noticed anything suspicious, and the police are at a loss. Quietly, and by the truckload, some Sampson County hogs are being stolen.

Hog farms are big business in the Tarheel state, and some determined thieves are doing their best to dip into into those profits. Like old-fashioned cattle rustlers, the bad guys are taking dozens of hogs at a time, according to Sampson County Sheriff Buck McCullen. He says that in these burglaries, up to 32 hogs are taken at a time. Sheriff McClellan says that the big numbers depend on how big the thieves' truck is and how many they want.

The burglars are hitting some of the biggest farms in the industry, swiping only market-ready, full-grown hogs. Those hogs sell for as much as $150 a piece. Captain Landis Lee of the Sampson County Sheriff's Department says that stealing lots of hogs from big farms is easy, because the hogs are densely packed into small areas.

So far, the neighbors of the targeted farms have noticed nothing suspicious. Neighbor Annette Dorton says that she sees many trucks come and go, and she really doesn't pay much attention.

Investigators say that this latest series of animal thefts is nothing new, but it's just a little more organized than previous crimes. They tell WRAL-TV5 News that they don't know where the animals are being sold, but they're putting plenty of people on the case, trying to insure that felony charges will soon put a stop to hot hogs in North Carolina.