Pecan farmer stands up to thieves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pecan farmer stands up to thieves

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

BERRIEN COUNTY, GA (WALB) - A pecan farmer stood up to thieves.

When they showed up to steal from him, he and an employee were waiting with guns and shot one of the suspects.

The suspect survived the wound and law officers say property owners have the right to protect their crops.

Most growers experience pecan thefts several times a year.

"I do have a security system here with camera and motion detectors and we try to keep it updated," said Jeff Dorsey, Luke Orchards owner. "We're in the process of keeping it updated now."

J.W. Renfroe Pecan Company is also getting a new alarm installed but with all security measures taken, pecans are easy access to quick money and thieves are hard to track.

"We're just kind of in the battle for ourselves alone," said Dorsey.

Dorsey says farmers alert one another if they suspect any thefts and they have to be on guard at all times.

Pecan theft is a common crime during harvest season especially in this downturned economy. Growers have to always keep a watch on their orchards and warehouses.

Berrien County Sheriff Anthony Heath has a message for thieves.

"To the person who thinks they're going to get out and make some easy money, beware that people are going to protect their properties," said Berrien County Sheriff Anthony Heath.  

Like the thieves who showed up at a Ray City pecan farm on Wednesday.

"Around four or five in the afternoon two unknown individuals entered into Shiloh Pecan Farms and took around 500 pounds of pecans," said Berrien County Investigator Regina Wilkerson.

The owner Buck Paulk and employee Juan Garcia decided to wait on them to see if they would come back, and the men did. Paulk and Garcia fired at them. The incident is still under investigation, but Paulk and Garcia probably won't be charged. They wouldn't talk to us about the shooting.

"I don't know what I'd do if I was in that same situation," said Dorsey.

24-year-old Eric Seay was hit on both arms and is currently in the hospital. His accomplice 19-year-old Christopher Tillberg is in custody.

Seay and Tillberg aren't charged yet, but they may be charged with burglary and theft by taking.


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