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Chicken Thieves

Chicken thieves have been busy in Clarke County. They visited the home of George Lane near Osceola and got away with about 100 head of Plymouth Rocks.

A few nights since the home of Oran Marquis of near Woodburn was visited and it is reported about 40 Rhode Island Reds were taken. The theft took place sometime in the early evening when the family were away. About two months ago thieves visited the same home and took 50 or 60 chicks. It is said there are several markers on the market that make identification of poultry practically certain and law enforcing officers suggest that poultry raisers should endeavor to mark their flocks, and to report at once their loss, to wait several days after the loss is known makes it doubly hard for the officers to catch the thieves.

A Washington Township farmer is in the county jail charged with chicken stealing. He was arrested near the John Switzer farm in Washington Township. According to the Sheriff the thief signed a written statement when questioned by County Attorney Hal Stubblefield admitting some fifteen different places where he stole chickens. He denied having taken chickens from Switzer’s or any other of his near neighbors. During the past week the Switzer’s have missed about a hundred chickens, a few disappearing each Saturday night.

The Switzer’s decided to stay home one Saturday night instead of going to Osceola to do their trading as has been their custom. About 10 p.m. the chickens began to squawk and while Mrs. Switzer telephoned the Sheriff, Mr. Switzer took his shotgun and went outside to investigate. As he neared the chicken house he saw someone run back into the field. A car was parked near the house and Mr. Switzer watched it for a few minutes and a man appeared coming toward it. He ordered the fellow to halt but to no effect. Switzer then shot ahead of the man who still failed to stop but jumped into the car, started the motor and drove off. Just as the car started moving Mr. Switzer fired at the rear tires.

In the meantime Sheriff McQuern and Deputy Linder were on their way out and arrived just a few minutes later. They trailed the fresh tracks in the mud for about two miles and finally caught up with a car driven by the suspect. One rear tire was flat, said to have been punctured by shotgun shot.

The suspect was brought to Osceola and was questioned. He readily admitted numerous chicken thefts during the past six months. He said he did not intend to steal any of Switzer’s chickens. He came to Osceola earlier in the evening and bought some groceries, stopping at a beer parlor he had a few drinks and started home. He recalls turning off the highway to the rocked road two miles north of Osceola but remembers nothing else from that time until he woke up in jail the next morning.


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