JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Five men, including 2 police officers, face felony theft charges after investigators said they stole more than $130,000 worth of soybeans and corn from a McCrory grain facility.
Police arrested Sylvester "Pug" Hall of Pumpkin Bend, along with Booker Pennington, Michael Smith, Ricky Dale Blunt and Charles Johns of McCrory on 14 separate counts of theft of property, according to a news release from Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long, Jr.
Each offense carries a possible sentence of 3-10 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, a fine up to $10,000 or both.
Hall served as a part-time officer with the Augusta Police Department and Pennington was a full-time office with the City of McCrory, according to the release.
Long said the 5 men stole grain from Morris Granary in McCrory and sold it at a processing facility in Helena-West Helena over a multi-week period in December 2014 and January 2015.
Pennington drove a truck on a part-time basis for Hall's grain trucking business, T&H Farms.
Long said Smith, who worked at the granary, would contact Hall or Pennington when it was "safe to drive through the granary" and load the grain onto the trucks.
The prosecutor said Smith "would provide fake documentation to make it appear as if the loadouts were proper."
Johns and Blunt, who also worked at the granary, would help load the trucks and make certain that "management was kept in the dark about the thefts," Long said.
After receiving a load, Long said Pennington would then deliver it to Helena, saying it belonged to T&H Farms.
Hall would receive payments made to his trucking company, deposit them into a bank account then pay the others, Long said.
The prosecutor said the 5 stole in excess of $134,000 worth of grain. That figure is expected to "rise significantly" as the investigation continues.
The Woodruff County Sheriff's Department and the McCrory Police Department assisted Arkansas State Police and the First Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's office in the investigation and arrests.
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