HANCOCK COUNTY — It’s not uncommon to see unmanned fruit and vegetable stands in Hancock County — the kind where a person stops, gathers a few items from local farmers, and then deposits money in a deposit box, all based on an unspoken honor system.
That trust was broken locally when officials from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department were called to the 40 block of East 600N, Greenfield to investigate a possible theft in early September. Turns out, officials say, a local woman had been not only stealing corn from a local stand on a regular basis, but she had also taken cash from the deposit box which was set up in the mailbox area.
The victims were able to identify at least 18 different times they were robbed by the same woman from late July through early September. Officials say the woman stole anywhere from between $1,000 to $3,000 in cash, not to mention lots of fresh corn.
Teresa Lynn Kiner, 67, Greenfield, has been arrested and charged with 18 Level 6 felony counts of theft where the defendant has either a prior conviction or conversion, court records show.
The case against Kiner was opened in Hancock County Superior Court 2 on Sept. 22 when a warrant was issued for her arrest. Kiner was taken into custody Tuesday, arrest records show. She made her initial appearance in court Wednesday, where Judge Dan Marshall set a $1,000 cash bond. She’s scheduled to make her next court appearance Monday, Nov. 28.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Sheriff’s officials visited the victims on September 4. A woman told them she and her family run a small self-serve corn stand in front of their residence. The victim said they were having issues with theft so they set up a camera facing the self-serve money bin next to the corn for sale.
The victim said that they typically start the day with some $1 bills and loose change, about $10 for customers to make change for the corn they purchase, but that recently they have been having some theft of the money, and she suspected a particular female who has visited the stand.
While the victim said they could not capture a license plate, they were able to get an image of a face, so they placed the woman’s photo on Facebook to seek assistance from the community. The victims were contacted by some of the woman’s family members, who identified her as Teresa L. Kinder of Greenfield, the affidavit said.
The victim noted in the report that Kiner does appear to “purchase” corn from the stand, but then takes money instead of paying for the corn. She said that, in one video, Kiner can be actually heard counting out the money she is taking. After learning about the Facebook post, Kiner reached out to the victim, who denied taking the money but then told the victim she had returned $90 to the money bin, the report stated.
Officials went back and observed 18 different videos from July 30 through Sept. 3 showing Kiner at the stand getting corn, placing it in a plastic bag and then putting her had into the mailbox with the money and, on some occasions, look like making change, the report stated.
Officials brought Kiner in for questioning. She told officials she had visited the stand probably three times, but she had dementia and couldn’t remember nor could she drive. However, officials showed her two videos of her being at the scene after driving up and she put her head down, the report stated.
“I started to show her a third video and she said ‘I don’t need to see anymore,’” the detective noted in the report.
Kiner then admitted she took money and stated she was having a hard time and has health issues, the report said. Kiner was still listed as an inmate in the county jail as of press deadline.