A truck driver carrying chicken from the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Sumter, South Carolina, was taken into custody and has been charged with the theft of chicken products that he was supposed to deliver to two locations in Milton, Georgia.
Christopher Thomas, Florence, South Carolina, was hired by Pilgrim’s Pride to make deliveries and is suspected to have stolen the chicken for the purposes of selling it.
According to a press release from the Sumpter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), investigators believe Thomas sold part of the load of chicken he was transporting in various locations. He was believed to have been in the process of selling more when deputies performed a traffic stop.
With the help of a tip, a SCSO investigator was able to arrest Thomas with the assistance of Lee County deputies. Following the tip, law enforcement was able to travel to where Thomas had agreed to meet a buyer. Upon Thomas’ arrival at the predetermined location, the SCSO investigator and the deputies from Lee County boxed in the truck and spoke to the suspect. After confirming that the truck and its contents was the truck in question, Thomas consented to a search of the truck. When opened, the investigator saw pallets loaded with cases of frozen chicken confirmed to be pallets of stolen chicken from Pilgrim’s Pride.
Thomas was then placed under arrest. Thomas was to deliver approximately 41,000 pounds of chicken valued at approximately $80,000. He was arrested with approximately seven pallets loaded with 215 cases of chicken weighing 8,000 pounds remaining. It is believed that Thomas sold about 33,000 pounds of chicken.
Thomas was transported to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center and is being held under a $50,000 surety bond. He has been charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent.
Previous theft arrests from Sumpter plant
Earlier in 2023, two suspects were arrested on suspicion of stealing $40,000 worth of boneless chicken meat from the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Sumter.