Hay Bale Thefts in South Central Kansas

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) Frustrated farmers in a south-central Kansas county are coping with a rash of hay bale thefts.

KAKE-TV reports Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet has ordered his deputies to patrol rural roads, aiming to halt what’s become an almost daily crime.

Herzet blames the thefts on the severe drought, which has tightened supplies of hay and driven up prices.

Butler County farmer Orville Carver says that someone cut the lock to his gate and stole nearly $500 worth of hay. Carver says the economy has something to do with the crime, but it doesn’t justify stealing from others.

Authorities and some farmers have set up deer cameras, hoping to catch the thieves. Herzet is also encouraging farmers and ranchers to move hay from their fields closer to their homes.