Burglary Suspect Blamed for Thousands of Chicken Deaths - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Burglary Suspect Blamed for Thousands of Chicken Deaths

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Joshua Shelton Joshua Shelton

DELMAR, Md.- Authorities say a Delmar man is facing burglary and related charges following allegations that he got drunk and turned off the power to three poultry houses, which led to the deaths of nearly 70,000 chickens.

The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office reports that shortly after 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, a deputy responded to a reported incident at a poultry farm on the 32000 block of East Line Road in Delmar, Md. The deputy met with the property owner who stated that the electric power had been turned off to his three chicken houses on his property during the night. According to the property owner, this deprived the flock of food, water and cooling fans. As a result, nearly the entire flock was found deceased.

Police said that when the property owner entered the control shed that controlled the power, he located an unknown man passed out on the floor of the shed, clad only in a T-shirt and boxer shorts. The man was also lying in a pool of his own urine and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from him, investigators said.

The deputy managed to wake the man up and identified him as 21-year-old Joshua Shelton of Delmar, Md. Shelton told the deputy that the last thing he remembered was being on the property after a nearby concert but did not know how he ended up inside the shed, according to police. Police said the deputy surmised that in his intoxicated state, Shelton turned off the circuit breakers that controlled the electricity to the chicken houses.

It is believed that the chickens in the three houses numbered close to 70,000 and their value was in the vicinity of $20,000, police said. Investigators noted that the chickens were due to be delivered to a local processing plant the following day.

Shelton was taken into custody and charged with second-degree burglary, trespass and malicious destruction of property. He was ordered held in the Wicomico County Detention Center in lieu of $75,000 bond.

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