What is in this article?:
- Newly formed rural crimes unit investigating Alabama cattle thefts
- Will help curb rural crime
• Although the official ARCU announcement will happen later this month, Gene Wiggins, who leads the new team, said investigators already are assisting sheriff’s departments with cases.
THE NEWLY FORMED Agriculture and Rural Crimes Unit (ARCU) is working with the Lauderdale County, Ala., Sheriff's Department to solve a rash of cattle thefts. Gene Wiggins, head of ARCU, said the latest report of cattle theft is the fourth received since May 14.
Will help curb rural crime
Although law enforcement consolidation isn’t required until January 2015, Bentley and Collier charged Wiggins with forming the unit immediately to curb rural crime.
Knowing agricultural investigators are on the case is welcome news to farmers like the Hills, who have been victims multiple times.
"In December, someone cut the fence at the same place, and went in and stole a tractor. We never got it back or found out who took it," Doris Hill told the TimesDaily. "It's hard enough to farm and try to make a go of it and then get hit like this. This hurts. We're suffering."
Because rural crimes often are related, Wiggins said it’s important for neighbors to report suspicious activity. “We are establishing a rural crimes hotline at 1-855-75-CRIME,” Wiggins said.
“In the meantime, we encourage the public to call the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency at (334) 353-3050or their sheriff’s office.” Anyone with information about the Lauderdale County cattle thefts can call (256) 760-5757 or Shoals Crime Stoppers at (256) 386-8685.
The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Cattlemen’s Association each offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals stealing cattle from a member’s property posted with signs from the respective groups.
For Farmers Federation signs, contact Leanne Worthington at email@example.com or (334) 613-4272. For information about the Cattlemen’s reward program, call (334) 265-1867.
(For an earlier article on the formation of the rural crimes unit, see http://southeastfarmpress.com/equipment/alabama-farm-leaders-embrace-new-rural-crime-unit).
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