Arrest made in tobacco theft case

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By Geoff Hamill

Crime doesn’t pay, unless you are the police. In this case, one crime paid off and led to an arrest in another case.

Donnie Lee Hardin, 37, was lodged in the Marion County Jail and charged with burglary in the second degree and theft by unlawful taking of $10,000 or more. His bond was set at $20,000 cash.

The information that led to Hardin’s arrest in the tobacco theft case came when Springfield Police Officer John Hall made a traffic stop on Dec. 12, and the man he stopped had some information he was willing to share with Hall, according to a report by Washington County Sheriff Tommy Bartley.

Hall made the stop, and the man, who had been drinking, told Hall he knew about some tobacco that had been stolen from Michael McCain of Springfield.

Hall contacted Bartley, who spoke with the informant. The man told Bartley that he had been approached by Donnie Hardin, who asked if he knew anyone who wanted to buy some tobacco. The informant said he had been working for a farmer, and offered the tobacco to that farmer, but he wanted nothing to do with it.

According to the report, the informant told Bartley that one of the wagons stolen from McCain was located in Mercer County. He also said Hardin had told him he worked alone in stealing the tobacco, and that Hardin claimed he worked from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning loading the tobacco. He said Hardin told him that he took the tobacco to Russell Lane in the Mackville-Texas Road area and unloaded, then later took the wagon to Mercer County.


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