One or more vandals are suspect of targeting a pig farmer in South Dakota in a recent string of attacks, including a fire that destroyed his hoop barn. Now Doug Luebke, of Douglas County, is seeking answers as officials investigate the incidents.
According to The Daily Republic in an article here, the trouble started on Nov. 9. The local Ethan Co-Op Lumber began pouring the floor of his hog barn, currently being constructed, earlier in the morning. By morning, someone stole a tractor left in a field nearby to pull a tile plow down the center of the floor.
“It appears somebody was maybe keeping an eye on us to know to come in on the soft end of the concrete to where it started because they only made it two-thirds of the way through there, and the concrete got too hard, and it stopped the tractor," Dan Boehmer, General Manager of Ethan Co-Op Lumber, told KSFY News.
Ethan Co-Op Lumber quickly took to Facebook, posting a $5,000 reward for information leading up the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the damage. The post has since been shared more than 1,400 times.
“There might just be somebody that doesn’t like hog barns,” Luebke told The Daily Republic. “I don’t know why that would be, some people don’t like them. I just can’t figure out how anybody can be that stupid.”
Regardless of why Luebke was targeted, Ethan Co-Cop Lumber is gaining new momentum to get the hog barn finished.
“This act has only motivated us more to exceed our expected completion date and allow our valued customer to get his project up and running even faster,” the company updated on its Facebook page. “This vandalism was just a small bump in the road that will easily be overcome through the hard work and determination of our customer, employees, and sub-contractors. The concrete floor has already been cut out and will be re-poured Friday, as we are right back on schedule!”
Unfortunately, the vandalism marked only one of the incidents at Luebke’s property during the week. On Thursday, Luebke’s hay shed burned to the ground.
He believes the fire and vandalism are connected.
"I have no idea how people can be that cowardly to do something like this and then so stupid to think that they're going to stop something just because they vandalize it," said Luebke.
Now officials, including the Department of Criminal Investigations, State Fire Marshall’s Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, are investigating.
To Luebke it’s clear that the perpetrator must be local since the person knows the lay of the land. He also suspects the person may have an agricultural background since the suspect is familiar with farm equipment.
As for Luebke, he isn’t letting the vandalism slow him down. He stressed, "Well, I'll just keep going forward because if they think they're going to intimidate me, they don't know me very well.”