A pair of thieves were caught raising a stink in a Minnesota farm — quite literally.
Police in St. Cloud said a group of men were attempting to steal lumber from a farm shed when their pickup truck got stuck in a giant pile of manure that had become wet from a few days of heavy rain and steamy temperatures. As TwinCities.com reported, it actually got worse from there.
The farmer called police, who arrived to find a man smoking a cigarette and covered in manure. The suspect told police that he was helping some friends who had bought lumber from the farm, but police said the group had come to steal the lumber, then got covered in manure as they desperately tried to get the truck free from the mushy pile.
Police arrested another man who had fled the scene of the manure caper before police arrived.
This is not the first farm theft to gain some viral attention this week. Just a few days earlier, police in California pulled over a 69-year-old man and found nearly 800 pounds of lemons inside his car that they say were stolen from a nearby farm.
As the New York Times reported in 2011, there has been a surge in thefts from farms — especially in Southern California — as the economic downturn and rising drug epidemic struck rural areas. Farms are often in sparsely populated areas and have expensive equipment and crops that can make them an attractive target for thieves, the report noted.
“While other states have their own agricultural intrigue — cattle rustlers in Texas, tomato takers in Florida — few areas can claim a wider variety of farm felons than California, where ambushes on everything from almonds to beehives have been reported in recent years. Then there is the hardware: diesel fuel, tools and truck batteries regularly disappear in the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural powerhouse, where high unemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have made criminals more desperate, officials say.”
Police in Minnesota said the man arrested for trying to steal lumber from the farm has a history of arrests for burglary.
Before taking the suspect into jail, police in Minnesota said they had to stop at the squad’s car garage and hose off the manure-covered suspect. Deputies said it may take quite some work to get the smell out of the patrol car. The suspect was released later that day, presumably to take a shower.