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San Patricio County vandals ransack local cotton harvest

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 19:13:31-04

SINTON, Texas — Some local farmers in San Patricio County are upset tonight after vandals leave their mark.

Their cotton harvest has taken a serious hit.

Farmers arrived to their fields Monday to find their cotton bales ripped open.

So far, three farmers have reported vandals cutting through their cotton bales. But according to Sheriff Oscar Rivera, he's seen over a dozen farms with similar damage.

"They're upset, and rightfully so,” Rivera said. “They need to be upset. this is what they work for the entire year."

Even though this year has been considered an above average season for South Texas in cotton yield, the sales of cotton have actually been relatively low.

“The price to get it picked up is not getting any cheaper or the labor to get it processed,” Rivera said. “I see these guys working day and night to get their crop up.”

And now another obstacle for these farmers.

"They cut the plastic all the way open on them and then they flopped open and made a mess, gin owner Chris Keeney said. “We've been cleaning up since yesterday morning and it's not fun, believe me."

Farmer Andrew Miller and his team just picked this cotton on Saturday. Now his cotton bails could be sitting in the gin for up to two months until it is processed.

"We'll have production loss, we'll have quality loss,” Miller said. “It’s just going to be an expensive ordeal on these modules."

San Patricio County farmers are keeping an eye out for one another, and now they are keeping an especially close eye for vandals.

"It shouldn't happen again, and if we ever find out who do it, there's going to be some severe.

Sheriff Rivera was more succinct.

“It’ll be a matter of time,” he said. “We’ll get someone arrested over this."

Vandalism is considered a felony and the sheriff is asking if you have any information on who may have caused this damage, to please call the sheriff's office.

And to give you a perspective on the financial loss for farmers, we’re told several groups of bales were damaged. The loss in funds adds up to about $25,000 to $30,000 per group.