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Hog Thieves Plague Sampson County Farmers

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SAMPSON COUNTY — The neighbors haven't noticed anythingsuspicious, and the police are at a loss. Quietly, and by the truckload, some Sampson County hogs are beingstolen.

Hog farms are big business in the Tarheel state, and some determinedthieves are doing their best to dip into into thoseprofits. Like old-fashioned cattle rustlers, the bad guys are takingdozens of hogs at a time, according to Sampson County Sheriff BuckMcCullen. 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 thethieves'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 $150apiece. Captain Landis Lee of the Sampson County Sheriff's Department saysthat stealing lots of hogs from big farms is easy, because the hogs aredensely packed into small areas.

So far, the neighbors of the targeted farms have noticed nothingsuspicious. Neighbor Annette Dorton says that she sees many trucks comeand 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 beingsold,but they're putting plenty of people on the case, trying to insure thatfelony charges will soon put a stop to hot hogs in North Carolina.

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