Turkey heist: Dozens of birds stolen in Tuscola County

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TUSCOLA COUNTY (WJRT) (9/9/2019) - It's the time of year when turkeys are getting fattened up for Thanksgiving.

Thieves stole 85 turkeys from a farm in Tuscola County's Akron Township.

But some people will have to look elsewhere for their bird. A popular Tuscola County farm was hit by thieves overnight and more than 80 turkeys were swiped.

"Once in awhile you will miss one or two, but when you are missing 85 you notice it right away," said farm owner Gary Ertman.

The 85 turkeys were taken from three pens at the home on Unionville Road in Akron Township. Gary Ertman and his wife know they had that many turkeys because they have about one hundred orders for Thanksgiving birds.

"We've done as much as 350," he said.

But someone came onto the property over the weekend while the family was gone, taking the 2- to 3-month-old turkeys, while some of the larger birds were left behind.

Another 35 pheasants were also taken from their pens. Ertman said it's too late to stock up on turkeys, before the holiday season.

"People are going to be disappointed, very disappointed, because everybody goes, 'Well, we want your turkeys,'" he said.

He estimates the loss at about $3,500. So how would someone pull off a turkey heist?

"If you had a big enough trailer, two people, you could get it done pretty quick," said Seth Hahn, who is one of three employees at the farm. "The turkeys are pretty tame. They are going to follow you. You could go out there and open the door, they are going to follow you around."

The Tuscola County Sheriff's Department is investigating.

"You are sad, you are hurt and violated and then you couldn't sleep because of the customers. And then all of a sudden, anger sets in," Ertman said.

There were no surveillance cameras, but Ertman said he will put some up now.

"If you were hungry, I would have give you some, feed you, but when you steal, that's stealing out of our pocket," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tuscola County Sheriff's Office.