PRESTON — A mother and son are accused of stealing nearly $5,000 in frozen gopher feet from a freezer in Granger and selling them in Harmony Township for the $3 per pair bounty.
Tina Marie Garrison, 37, and Junior Lee Dillon, 18, both of Preston, were each charged May 2 with four counts: felony receiving stolen property and theft, and gross misdemeanor receiving stolen property and theft.
Bail was set at $10,000 each.
Garrison has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial; her son is awaiting a July 29 omnibus hearing.
The complaint alleges a gopher trapper contacted the Fillmore County Sheriff's Department in December, saying bags of frozen gopher feet had been stolen from his freezer between Nov. 23 and Dec. 5.
The owner contacted local townships that offer rewards for gophers to keep down their numbers and found Dillon had turned in $1,014 in feet in November. During the Dec. 5 meeting, Garrison turned in $3,780 in feet, which the township clerk said is unusual. Garrison said they had been saving them for three years.
When interviewed later in December, Dillon denied turning in any feet for the bounty, saying maybe someone used his name, the complaint said. He said he knew about the missing feet because he was in the owners' house frequently. When the feet were taken, the owner "thought they were just messing with him," Dillon said.
When Garrison was interviewed, she said she got the feet from her oldest son who got them from a friend, the complaint said. They worked and weren't able to turn in the feet for the reward so they asked Garrison to do it.
When that son was contacted, he denied talking with his mother, according to the complaint.