FALMOUTH, Ind. — A man hired to haul grain for a Central Indiana farm has been arrested on felony charges after police say he stole and sold over $47,000 in corn and soybean grain.

Larry E. Estes, a 57-year-old man from Rush County, was arrested on Sunday and charged with four level-6 felony counts of theft after investigators say he stole multiple semi-trucks full of grain from a farmer that hired him and sold them to another grain depot.

The investigation into Estes began the night of April 5 when the Rush County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a farmer in Falmouth about a possible theft of grain.

Court documents show that the farmer was made aware that the grain supply he’d been contracted to sell was short and that they were facing fines. The man told authorities that he suspected Estes, who had worked for him on and off for 15 years, was behind the theft.

The farmer said he came to suspect Estes was the culprit after his son’s wife heard he’d told someone that he stole two truckloads of grain and sold it to a grain depot in Connersville.

While investigating the grain disappearance, deputies spoke with an employee at the Connersville grain depot who remembered seeing a white semi with a sleeper and mud caked all over the back right side, which he found unusual. However, the employee never saw the driver’s face.

RCSO said deputies compared the description to the delivery trucks used by the farmer and they were a match, down to details such as the sleeper and mud caked on the back right side. Furthermore, the farmer said he did not have a contract to sell to the Connersville depot.

It was determined that Estes had sold to the depot in Connersville on four separate occasions:

  1. $9,876.33 worth of yellow soybean grain sold on March 23, 2021
  2. $6,974.32 worth of yellow corn grain sold on February 9, 2022
  3. $14,341.01 worth of yellow soybean grain sold on January 18, 2023
  4. $15,855.87 worth of yellow soybean grain sold on February 10, 2023

The farmer said that to the best of his knowledge, Estes is not a farmer and does not work for any other farms hauling grain.

A detective called Estes around 8 a.m. on April 14 and asked if they could meet. After asking what the meeting was about, Estes agreed to meet with the detective on April 18. However, Estes never showed up.

A warrant for Estes’ arrest was granted on April 20 and on Sunday he was arrested and booked into the Rush County Jail with a $10,000 bond. He now faces four counts of level-6 felony theft.