Stolen tobacco crop found, 2 suspects arrested - WKRN News 2

Stolen tobacco crop found, 2 suspects arrested

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Michael Gupton Michael Gupton
Terry Stewart Terry Stewart
ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. -

Tobacco farmers in Cheatham County are credited with helping a fellow farmer recover his stolen crop.

An estimated $50,000 in tobacco and a $10,000 trailer was stolen from Greg Balthrop's farm during the early morning hours Tuesday.

"I had everything done to that crop," Balthrop told Nashville's News 2 Investigates Wednesday. "It was loaded on the trailer and ready to go and I would have had a payday [before it was stolen]."

Balthrop, 45, says he received the call about the theft before 6 a.m.

"Yesterday morning I get a phone call at 5:38 a.m.  [The caller asked if] I lost some boxes hauling tobacco and I said, ‘[No], I ain't hauling today.'"

Balthrop knew his crop had been stolen and immediately called police.

He also called his neighbors, many of whom are tobacco farmers like him.  They sprung into action.

"It was neighbors, farmers, the whole community… They were helping and asking questions and looking," Balthrop said.

Based on knowledge of the area and a hunch, the tobacco posse looked in a remote location and found Balthrop's tobacco, the trailer and one of the suspects.

Cheatham County deputies quickly moved in and arrested Michael Gupton and Terry Stewart.  Both were charged with theft of over $60,000.

Investigators say Gupton used his truck to pull the tobacco trailer from Balthrop's farm and Stewart helped him do it.

Both men reportedly have ties to the Cheatham County farming community

Baltrhop says he will have to clean the stolen tobacco and re-box it but it's a small price to pay considering he lost almost an entire season's crop.

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