Four county Farm Bureaus have created a $10,000 reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) involved in a string of barn fires across northern Indiana.
Elkhart, Kosciusko, St. Joseph, and Marshall County Farm Bureaus each contributed to the fund. Together, these counties have experienced at least 12 barn fires – each under investigation for arson – since the beginning of this year. All but one of the fires has occurred since April.
Many of the fires happened within a short distance of each other and in a close timeframe. The property owners have not only lost their barns, but also equipment, hay and livestock.
“The county Farm Bureaus hope that offering a large reward will encourage anyone with information to come forward and put an end to the damage and destruction that local farmers are experiencing,” said Lynn Loucks, Elkhart County Farm Bureau president.
He added, “We hope a reward will help catch the arsonist sooner. The county Farm Bureaus want to protect the farming community and prevent any more barns from being targeted.”
The reward is limited to information that leads to a conviction of criminal arson committed on land zoned for ag/farm structures in Elkhart, Kosciusko, St. Joseph, and Marshall counties. It will remain available until the parties responsible are found. The complete program rules and details can be found by contacting the Elkhart County Farm Bureau office.
Anyone with information about the fires should contact Detective Bob Smith at 574-891-2352 or email the Sheriff’s Department’s tip line at ECSDTipLine@elkhartcountysherriff.com.