Lambton County beef farmer suspends orders after meat theft

A mostly-empty freezer is all that remains after Lambton County beef farmer Joe Dickinson says thieves stole as much as $4,000 in meat from his farm.  (Submitted by Joe Dickinson - image credit)
A mostly-empty freezer is all that remains after Lambton County beef farmer Joe Dickinson says thieves stole as much as $4,000 in meat from his farm. (Submitted by Joe Dickinson - image credit)

A Lambton County beef farmer has had to suspend orders after thousands of dollars worth of meat was stolen this week.

Joe Dickinson of Dickinson Farms says two of his big freezers in a storefront building at the farm were cleared out and another had much of its contents stolen. He estimates about $4,000 of meat is gone.

It was a day much like any other: Dickinson says he was working when he first went to get some meat he was going to sell to a family member and noticed the lid of one freezer was ajar and a little empty. Chalking it up to his own mistake, he went to a second freezer, also a little emptier.

LISTEN: A Lambton beef farmer has had to suspend orders after beef theft

"Then I noticed my meat scale was missing and that's when it hit me," he said. "So I opened up my big freezer which has all my steak, all my roasts, the high value stuff and it was empty."

One freezer was holding an entire animal's worth of beef and is nearly empty, while another was missing about 40 lbs and a third freezer was missing all of the round steaks it contained.

Dickinson said that because he doesn't live on the farm, the theft could have happened within about 24 hours before he noticed.

Dickinson says he never worried about this happening, figuring that if thieves ever took something it would be a four-wheeler, tractor or other piece of pricey equipment or tools.

But, he said, the freezers were a little hard to reach  —  it feels a little more "personal" he said, because the thieves had an idea where to look and only stole from the freezers.

"You had to know what you were looking for," he said. "If they took something else it's covered by insurance. It is what it is and and eventually we find them.

Meat theft feels more 'personal,' farmer says

"They took what makes me money so that hits a little bit differently."

Dickinson says he alerted police and OPP say they are investigating.

He says his business will be able to weather the theft, but they have had to suspend orders in the meantime.

Going forward, Dickinson says they'll be exploring some more security options, though they're a little limited by not having wifi on the farm.