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Man Arrested After Caught Stealing Anhydrous Ammonia

Last updated on Saturday, August 31, 2013

(JOHNSON CO.). - Investigators said a man was recently arrested after they caught him trying to steal anhydrous ammonia from a Johnson County farming co-op.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office said they received a report just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday of an odor of anhydrous ammonia coming from a farming-supply co-op at 2738 W. County Road 300 South.

When deputies arrived, they were told by the fire department that there were 20-pound tanks hooked up to a nurse tank at the co-op.

Deputies said a man was seen hiding in the bed of a truck and was handcuffed and patted down. When investigators asked the man, named as Chester Sidwell, 49, where his partner was, Sidwell told them he had run toward the corn field.

Sidwell was placed under arrest and told deputies his partner's name was "John," and that he and John were driven to that location from Columbus, Ind., by an unknown man in a green truck. Sidwell reportedly told investigators the plan was for him and "John" to take the anhydrous ammonia and the man in the green truck would come back and pick them up.

When asked what they were going to do with the anhydrous ammonia, Sidwell told deputies they were going to sell it. Sidwell said he was on parole for dealing meth and he may be wanted by the department of corrections. He also told deputies he was homeless when asked for an address.

Deputies and a K-9 officer attempted to track Sidwell's partner, John, through the fields for roughly an hour. He has not yet been found.

Investigators said one official had to get his face, hands and arms washed down from exposure to the anhydrous ammonia.

Sidwell was arrested and charged for parole violation, theft and criminal mischief.

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