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Police in Maine Scramble to Solve Case of the Missing Eggs

posted on December 19, 2008

TURNER, Maine (AP) - Maine State Police asked authorities throughout New England to be on the lookout for an unmarked truck hauling eggs without the proper paperwork as they investigate the theft of nearly 260,000 eggs from a Maine egg farm.

An estimated 259,200 eggs, stacked on 24 pallets and worth about $25,000, were stolen from the Quality Egg Farm of New England in two separate incidents.

The eggs, destined for Asia, were in cartons printed in English and Chinese, said Maine State Trooper Michael Chavez. They may be destined for Chinese sections of Boston and New York, he said.

Investigators, who said they had several leads in the case, said it was no simple theft, nor was it the first or largest egg heist in Maine.

About a decade ago State Police investigated a case in which about $500,000 worth of eggs were stolen from the same farm, said Lieutenant Walter Grzyb.

In that case, dock workers loaded extra, undocumented truckloads of eggs, and the driver hauled them to Massachusetts. Three people - a driver, a processing plant worker, and a dock worker - were arrested.

The most recent case is believed to involve a similar operation, Grzyb said. Bob Leclerc, compliance manager at Quality Egg Farm, acknowledged Tuesday that company officials also believe it was an inside job.

Chavez said the thieves had to have access to a refrigerated box truck or large tractor-trailer and some inside knowledge of the egg farm and egg shipping.

"They knew what they were doing," Chavez said. "This isn't the kind of thing where you just back up a pickup truck and load it up with eggs."

Quality Egg Farm operates the former DeCoster Egg Farms.

Tags: agriculture eggs Maine news police