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Police: Thefts used to fund drug habit

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A local man accused of stealing farm implements to sell to help support his drug use was arrested at a Jennings County scrap dealer.

Matthew A. Kendall, 28, of Columbus, was booked into the Jackson County Jail on a theft charge. He also faces charges of possession of heroin and paraphernalia in Jennings County and a charge of theft in Ripley County, police said.

The theft charge is a Class D felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.

It stems from an investigation that began after the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department received information about the theft of a pull-type chisel plow northeast of Acme.

Jackson County officer Jeff Walters said he went to the scene of that incident, took photos and talked with witnesses, including one who reported someone had been seen trying to steal the same plow a few days earlier.

Walters said he started checking with scrap dealers and wound up at one in Jennings County, where he was told a man identified as Kendall sold farm implements for scrap on several occasions during the past month.

Shortly after leaving the dealer, Walters said, he received information Kendall was at the scrap dealer Monday trying to sell a pull-type harrow.

Walters said he returned to the dealer and stopped Kendall’s vehicle. Heroin and drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle during a search, Walters said.

While talking with Kendall, police were able to determine the farm equipment he was selling at the time of his arrest had been taken within an hour of his arrest in the Holton area of Ripley County, Walters said.

Walters said Kendall also told police he had sold the chisel plow taken in Jackson County to a farm implement dealer.

Kendall said he then drove to Cincinnati, bought heroin and stole the second piece of farm equipment on his way back home, Walters said.

Walters said Kendall, who was being held without bond pending his initial court hearing, has family in the southern area of Bartholomew County but has been living in Seymour.

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