One arrested so far for damage to cornfield

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This cornfield, located just off State Road 42 near the intersection of North County Road 475 East, was damaged early Sunday morning. Ivy Jacobs Photo.

A Pendleton, Ind., man remains in jail for his alleged involvement in a criminal mischief incident that destroyed a large portion of a cornfield in rural Clay County early Sunday morning.

Justin Waldridge, 29, was arrested early Sunday morning for driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in a cornfield located just off State Road 42 near the intersection of North County Road 475 East. He was booked into the Clay County Justice Center on preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, criminal mischief and trespass.

According to Sheriff Mike Heaton, the Clay County Sheriff's Department is continuing to investigate the criminal mischief report involving at least three ATVs and possibly a full-size vehicle.

"The property owner discovered one of the ATVs, which was later identified as reported stolen from Hendricks County," Heaton said.

Heaton told The Brazil Times Wednesday, deputies were dispatched to the area on a trespass/criminal mischief report Sunday morning witnessed several suspects on ATVs riding in the field and at least one dashboard camera in a police car captured video of the incident.

"We're looking for the others who were involved," he said.

The amount of extensive damage to the cornfield has yet to be determined.

"People really need to think about what they are doing," Heaton said about the incident. "This isn't a prank at all. A crop is the same thing as a paycheck for a farmer."

Justin Waldridge

Facing a $7,000 cash bond (with 10 percent allowed), jail officials confirmed Waldridge remains incarcerated while awaiting formal court proceedings while the investigation continues.

"If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact us," Heaton said.

To report information about this incident or any other crime, contact the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535.

Not worth the chance

Property damage isn't something to laugh about.

"Persons who allegedly are involved in the type of activities that destroy property, especially a farmer's fields, are not truly aware of the consequences of their actions," Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger recently told The Brazil Times. "These types of damages have the potential of affecting a person's income and livelihood."

Which is why Indiana Statute provides victims the right to pursue reimbursement for damages.

According to Indiana Code 35-40-5-1-7, a victim has the right to pursue an order of restitution and other civil remedies against the person convicted of a crime against the victim.

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  • This is happening in other parts of the county as well. Plus people stealing ears of corn to feed squirles or corn cars, you might as well be stealing money out of these farmers pockets, it is the same thing. Big 4x4 trucks digging ruts in the muddy fields just for fun. Dumping your old furniture, appliances,& bags of trash on our roads or deer carcuses left in the middle of the road. If you do this you will be turned in, we country folks watch out for the farmers.

    -- Posted by Jolly on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 8:04 AM
  • sherbear,

    I agree with you. I think it's a respect issue. Kids are not taught respect and most of the parents of these kids don't even know what respect is either. Kids learn by example. THUGS have thugletts, easier to steal than work for it, welfare is being taught also generation after generation.I am greatful for some of the country folk watch out.

    -- Posted by Sand mann on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 9:40 AM
  • I have to agree with you both. Sad thing the people who done more than likly wont have to or be able to repay farmer for his loss. People now days have no respect! But thank the goverment for that. I see kids stand there & tell parents I can do wwhat I want & you cant touch me or I will turn you in. If I would have said that to my parents I would have got a whippen. My parents did whip (not Beat) guess what it didnt hurt me a bit but sure did teach me a lesson & to have respect.

    -- Posted by confused33 on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 11:56 AM
  • This idoit needs to out in that field picking up each ear of corn they knocked over...shuck it..and put in a bin...ONE BY ONE! There are A LOT of kids in Clay County who think its cute to go mudding in someones field...they all need to be out there with rakes and shovels fixing the mess when they get caught! My parents would have BEAT me if I ever thought of doing something like that! AND this guy is 29 years old...WAHT A LOSER!

    -- Posted by WhyInBrazil on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 5:01 PM
  • Well this cat got what he deserved. Driving threw a corn field ruins bushels and bushels of corn. Although I dont entirely agree with the corning comment, I did it when I was a kid. I dont want my kids to do it if I ever go home, but I dont flip out when I get corned. As long as kids are just throwing kernals and not ears!

    -- Posted by The Crabb in AZ on Sun, Oct 4, 2009, at 12:53 PM
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