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Trucker jailed after missing pork turns up in Arkansas

The pork was picked up in South Carolina Nov. 13 and was to be driven to Florida. (The Trucker file photo)

The Associated Press

11/30/2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  — Arkansas health officials are disposing of $42,000 worth of meat after a Little Rock truck driver was accused of not delivering the hams and hot dogs and selling them himself from a refrigerated trailer.

Police Sgt. Cassandra Davis says Robert Lee was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft by receiving after an officer spotted him and another man unloading a trailer containing 549 boxes of hot dogs and 384 hams.

Davis says Lee was under contract to pick up the pork in South Carolina on Nov. 13 and drop it off in Miami. A police report says the meat's owner, Smithfield Hams, told police the meat had been missing for two weeks and was presumed stolen.

It was Lee’s second brush with the law in two days.

Tuesday, police accused Lee of ramming a pickup with his tractor-trailer cab on a Little Rock street.

Lee remains jailed and authorities didn't know if he had an attorney.

A police report said about 10:30 a.m. Thursday a police officer noticed two men, one later identified as Lee, taking cases of hams off the back of a 53-foot and placing the meat into a sport utility vehicle.

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Lee told an officer that the trailer’s cold unit was breaking down and that he and his brother were moving the hams into cold storage, the report said.

The officer found paperwork inside and called the meat owner, Smithfield Hams, whose officials told police the items had been missing for two weeks and were believed stolen, the police report said.

Police arrested Lee at his home Tuesday night after he reported a group of people had assaulted him and that his tractor-trailer was missing, police said.

He began acting erratically, threatening to kill whoever took the tractor-trailer and told officers “he was ready to fight,” the report said.

He attempted to flee after police handcuffed him, causing two officers to use pepper spray on him, police said.

Lee was a suspect in an aggravated assault earlier Tuesday that left a pickup jammed into a building, Davis said.

A tractor-trailer cab that police think Lee was driving rammed into the back of a 1989 Chevrolet pickup and shoved the truck into a building.

The pickup driver got out of the vehicle just as the collision happened and wasn’t seriously injured, a police report said.

Lee and the pickup driver had gotten into a heated argument Tuesday morning about a woman, police said.

Lee was charged Tuesday with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, refusal to submit to arrest and attempt to influence a public servant. He was released Wednesday after he posted bond.

Officials at MHC Truck Leasing, which owns the cab, declined to comment.

Police said the VIN number of the trailer and paperwork found in the trailer did not match.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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