MILLERSBURG — Another man has been charged with stealing hemp plants out of a field in Elkhart County in recent weeks.
Quintin Castetter, 28, was arrested early Thursday and charged with theft as a Level 6 felony. He allegedly stole more than $5,000 worth of plants from a field south of Millersburg.
He was arrested after the owner of the field said he saw two men fill a black Jeep with plants then followed the vehicle through Kosciusko and into Noble County.
Castetter was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $3,000 bond and given an initial court date of Oct. 25. A Level 6 felony is punishable by up to 2-1/2 years in prison.
His arrest follows the Oct. 10 arrest of a LaPorte man who allegedly stole two hemp plants from a field near Nappanee.
According to court documents:
Elkhart County Dispatch received a call about the theft about midnight Thursday. The caller said he was following the vehicle from the field near S.R. 13 and into Kosciusko County.
Noble County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Castetter about 45 minutes later near Albion. Officers caught him while he was fleeing a black Jeep Patriot that had stopped by the side of the road.
The vehicle had a large number of hemp plants in the rear and on the back seat. Castetter claimed that he was just out driving and that his vehicle ran out of gas, but refused to say anything more without a lawyer present.
The 911 caller told officers he was sitting in his vehicle watching the field because of having so many thefts lately. He said he saw a black Jeep drive into the field and watched as two men got out, went into the field and came back with their arms and clothes full of hemp plants.
The man said he followed the Jeep all the way into Noble County and never lost sight of it, even as it took multiple turns in an apparent attempt to evade him.
He said that about 15 plants were taken, worth approximately $5,250 altogether.
Industrial hemp is now legal in Indiana for licensed growers. It’s required to have just a fraction of the THC content of marijuana plants.