Chemical Theft

The theft of several thousand pounds of farming chemicals is raising some eyebrows in a small heartland community. The motive is not clear but the word has gone out to the highest levels of law enforcement.

The chemicals were stolen from a company in Cass County, Iowa near the city of Atlantic, some 60 miles east of Omaha.

It was around 6:30 last Friday night when Wickman Chemical did business with a man who claimed to be from Minnesota. He wrote a check for an order of seven types of herbicides totaling approximately 7,000 pounds.

It wasn't until Monday morning that the company realized the check was fraudulent.

Wickman Chemical made a phone call and spoke with someone who claimed to represent the bank that had issued the check. That bank doesn't exist.

Cass County Chief Deputy Bill Sage says, "This is probably the largest amount of chemical that's ever been stolen in this town."

Sage's initial concern was that this was linked to terrorism but he says that might be a stretch because it's not certain if the chemical could be used in an explosive.

The Chief Deputy says, "I think a lot of it is the unknown. We don't want to assume anything. We don't want to assume this is just for retail use or someone is trying to black market it."

As a precaution, investigators notified the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other law enforcement groups.

The suspect in the case is described as a white male in his early twenties. He's slender with black, shoulder length hair.

He was driving a gray, 2002 or 2003 Dodge pickup truck with a flatbed box and it had a black trailer that was 10 to 12 feet long. The vehicle had Minnesota license plates.

The owners of the company wouldn't comment on the theft but Chief Deputy Sage says the purchase didn't raise any red flags because Wickman does business with people all around the U.S.

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