Hemp thieves shoot at Indian Mound farmer, steal crops
INDIAN MOUND, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Several times in the last week, an Indian Mound farmer has had to chase people off his land to keep them from stealing his hemp plants. One of those chases had a startling end with shots fired.
Deep in the quiet community of Indian Mound, Tracy Lehman has a five-acre hemp farm.
About a month ago, he noticed a couple of plants go missing, but didn’t think much of it until last Friday. That's when he realized about 20 plants had been stolen.
”Obviously on high alert, I’m thinking ‘I got to see what’s going on here,’” Tracy Lehman said.
He bought surveillance cameras in hopes of catching the thieves.
At about 8 a.m. Monday, he noticed a gray car circling his house, and then a truck making its way onto the field.
Lehman says he did what he had to do, got in his truck and went after the thieves, leading to a car chase.
”We got a little ways down the road and we were sideways, going 80 mph going down this country road,” he said.
If the chase wasn't alarming enough, Lehman said the passenger took out a pistol and fired about eight to 10 shots in his direction.
He eventually backed off and lost the group.
When he looked at his surveillance camera, he saw pictures of men who appear to have assault rifles on them going through his plants.
“I wasn’t expecting to see that," Lehman said. "I don’t think the police officers were either. When we clicked that, we all did a double take.”
Lehman was shocked, but didn't back down from protecting what belongs to him. That same evening he chased down Coty Hayes Dawson, who was later caught by police. Lehman tells FOX 17 News he also trailed people Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well.
The hemp farmer said it’s a scary situation, but also expressed confusion about why people would try to steal his hemp plants. He said though the plants are both cannabis varieties, they consist of very little to no THC.
”We get tested by the state. So if it’s over 0.3, the crop gets destroyed on the spot,” Lehman explained.
He said now he has someone armed and watching the field 24 hours a day to make sure no one takes his crops again.