Two suspects are now in custody following the May 9 theft of $40,000 worth of boneless chicken breasts, approximately 6,600 pounds of poultry from a South Carolina Pilgrim’s Pride facility.
According to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, both suspects, 20-year-old Antonio Blackwell, and 37-year-old Jeremy McFadden, were arrested on grand larceny charges. McFadden surrendered to investigators on May 26, while Blackwell was arrested on May 22.
Both were being held at the Sumter County Detention Center on a $20,000 bond, but Blackwell was released after making the bond.
While it’s unclear why the poultry was taken, meat theft has been a common theme over the last year. From a JBS semi-trailer stolen with $275,000 worth of beef in March to multiple trailers full of $100,000 worth of pork and a meat theft ring that finally led to arrests in Florida, the amount of meat being stolen has amounted to anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars worth of products stolen to millions.
And, when you look at meat prices, it’s probably no wonder. Over the past year, poultry prices have remained strong. Supply issues and avian flu outbreaks have led to production struggles, but according to the USDA’s latest poultry prices by month, prices of broilers have decreased substantially since their peak in mid-2022.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic
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