New Task Force Targets Farm Tool Theft

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The Agriculture Rural Crime Unit is tasked with investigating agriculture and rural crimes such as theft of farm animals and farm equipment.

According to Governor Bentley since launching in June, there have been 14 felony arrests and recovered stolen property valued at more than half a million dollars.

"It free money its like any theft its free money," said Captain Tony Gonzalez of the Houston County Sheriff's office.

But the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is trying to put a stop to it by starting the Agricultural Crime Unit.

"It makes it a lot easier to know what is happening not only in Houston County but other counties as well but if Geneva County or Pike County starts to have problems in reference to the rural crimes then they will talk to each other," said Captain Gonzalez.

And so far Houston county Sheriff Deputies have had some success returning stolen property.

"At this point we have recovered 10 trailers... two out of 12 of these peanut trailers are still under investigation," said Captain Gonzalez.

And law enforcement has also been working with scrap metal companies.

"Whenever equipment comes in that might be subject then we will then we will hold them just for a little while just to question them to see if it might be... we have called the Sheriff's Department a couple times when we felt it might be stolen but we don't get many items," said Jan Emfinger, office manager of Emfinger Steel Company.

Officers are hoping with the new task force being in place it will help deter criminals.

"If we make the crime more difficult to commit one or two things will happen one possibility he'll quit two he'll go to another area," said Captain Gonzalez.

Keeping rural crime out of the Wiregrass.

A rural crime tip line is available for people to report a farm crime.
People can call 1-855-75CRIME


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