10/9/2012 2:43:00 PM $50,000 corn theft reported in rural Hayfield
By Tara Lindquist
The Dodge County Sheriff's Office is investigating an alleged corn theft in the Hayfield area.
According the incident report, Paul Stanton of Hayfield contacted the sheriff's department on September 28th to report the theft of 7,028 bushels of corn missing from his grain bin. The report states that on October 28, 2011 Stanton had two of his grain bins measured and sealed for the year and a representative from Farm Services Agency articulated the measurements and verified its contents for crop insurance purposes. The documents state that both bins were sealed with 133,631 bushels of corn. Stanton sells corn to Interstate Mills in Hayfield and Al-Corn Ethanol in Claremont. Stanton told Deputy Hoffman that the funds from the sales are direct deposited into his bank account, and he does have all the financial and proof of transactions and sales.
The report states that since the sealing of the bins Stanton has delivered loads to Interstate Mills with all appropriate paperwork to verify. The last loads were emptied from the bins in July and August of 2012 and he thoroughly checked his documents and discovered a 7,028 bushel deficit from one bin. The loss is estimated at $52,710 with a figuring of $7.40 a bushel price. The thefts are believed to have occurred in January, 2012 because the bin was full and there would have been no need to use machinery such as augers or any other devices to release the corn from the bin. Stanton demonstrated how the thefts would have been performed and explained that he has a large property and the bins are west of his house partially hidden by trees, corn and other grain bins. He also admitted that he is often times not home and semi's loading with corn off of that bin would be hidden by the bin. Two cables attached to a pulley are accessible from the base of the bin, the cables maneuver the chute which opens the hatch and releases corn. Stanton told Deputy Hoffman the bin has to be full, above the chute to allow gravity to release the corn, if the corn is below the chute, machinery is needed to get it out. Stanton stated he believes this was how it was removed allowing the thefts to be quick and somewhat quiet.
Hoffman noted that Stanton said he has had no troubles with other farmers and proclaims this to be the only theft or suspicious activity on and against his property. Hoffman noted he knows of one other corn theft in the area this past year, it occurred at the Vavra Farms Facility in Blooming Prairie during the spring of 2012. An employee of Vavra Farms had stolen copious amounts of corn and had a small network of people helping him do it.
The sheriff's department continues to investigate the reported theft and will contact the Blooming Prairie Police Department for any possible relations in the two cases.