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Friday, March 27th, 2009

Thousands of gallons of nitrogen stolen from two Celina area farms

By Margie Wuebker
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the theft of thousands of gallons of liquid nitrogen fertilizers from two area farmers.
William M. Muhlenkamp, 7911 state Route 49, Celina, contacted the sheriff's office Tuesday to report $6,000 worth of a liquid nitrogen product called 28 was missing from his Liberty Township farm.
About a week earlier, Kenneth L. Schmitmeyer, 7915 Clover Four Road, Celina, reported 4,320 gallons of the same application chemical were missing from two storage tanks he maintains along state Route 118 in Butler Township. The missing chemical is valued at nearly $8,400.
Neither man is sure when the apparent thefts occurred as the tanks were filled months ago in preparation for this spring's planting season.
"We're not talking about pulling up and filling a bucket," Chief Deputy Gery Thobe told The Daily Standard. "The person or persons who did this had large tanks at their disposal."
Thobe is not aware of people using liquid nitrogen in the production of drugs as is the case with anhydrous ammonia - another farm chemical that is a prime ingredient in the making of methamphetamine.
Nitrogen fertilizer, which has steadily increased in price, plays a major role in boosting plant yields by promoting healthy growth, strong root development and dark green foliage.
Detectives also are investigating another farm-related theft that occurred over the weekend at Lefeld Implement, 5228 state Route 118, Coldwater.
Someone took eight new tires on yellow John Deere rims from the business. The tires are valued at $250 each, according to the report.
Anyone having information related to the thefts should call the sheriff's office at 419-586-7724.
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