A Delaware County grand jury recently indicted eight beef jerky bandits who operated a theft ring across central Ohio, according to the Marion Star, following a six-month investigation of the group’s alleged thefts.
The group had been running a shoplifting ring across 10 Ohio counties, reported This Week News, and primarily focused on items like beef jerky, batteries, and laundry detergent.
The items may seem petty for thieves, but targeting stores that sell cheap items is one common strategy for long-winded crime rings like this one. It’s estimated that only one in every seven businesses today has a working alarm system, and these alarm systems almost always guard more valuable items, making it riskier to steal them.
According to local authorities, the group would shoplift these small items and an unnamed contact would resell the items, for a profit, at auction houses in Bellevue and Clinton.
All eight members have been charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (a first-degree felony charge) and money laundering (a third-degree felony charge); certain individuals are facing additional charges for theft in the fifth degree and money laundering in the second degree.
The charges, according to court documents, are as follows:
- Corrupt activity (first degree), money laundering (third degree), two counts of theft (fifth degree):
- Brittany Chafin, 23, of Delaware
- Stevie Henry, 25, of Marion
- Sasha Steele, 23, of Marion
- Corrupt activity (first degree), money laundering (third degree), three counts of theft (fifth degree):
- Jordan Emmons, 23, of Marion
- Corrupt activity (first degree), money laundering (third degree), four counts of theft (fifth degree):
- Justin Emmons, 26, of Marion
- Wendy Emmons, 45, of Marion
- Michael Jenkins, 32, of Marion
- Corrupt activity (first degree), three counts of money laundering (all third degree):
- Philip Burkholder, 82, of Forest
Believe it or not, this isn’t the only jerky-related theft that has occurred recently. Last year, Ohio had another jerky incident involving hundreds of dollars of stolen jerky and about $40 worth of candy stolen from a store in Grove City, according to WBNS-10TV.
Earlier this month, the Times Record News reported that Keeno’s Beef Jerky, located in Wichita Falls, TX, also had a break-in where the thief ran off with $250 worth of stolen jerky. Upon investigating, local police officials found that the jerky thief had intended to steal a jar of money which Keeno’s had been collecting to donate to local children’s youth ministries — but the jar of prize-winning Kickin’ T-bone jerky was just too tempting. The thief ended up leaving the cash but taking the jerky.
Jerky may not seem like a hot commodity to most people, but let’s be honest — you just aren’t going to turn down a stick of dried beef if it’s staring right at you.