Two Georgia men who worked at a frozen food distribution center were arrested last week in the theft of 10 pallets of chicken wings worth an estimated $65,000. The crime only added to a nationwide chicken wing shortage in the approach of Super Bowl Sunday, the second-biggest eating day of the year.
Dewayne Carl Patterson, 35, and Renaldo Cortez Jackson, 26, employees at Nordic Cold Storage just outside of Atlanta, reportedly pulled off the heist Jan. 12 when they "backed up an Enterprise rental truck to one of the bay doors, and loaded 10 pallets of Tyson frozen chicken wings," police told the Gwinnett Daily Post
. Management reportedly spotted them as they tried to drive away.
Investigators at the Gwinnett County police department arrested the pair a week later, on Jan. 23. They each face felony theft charges, according to ABC News.
The theft occurred in the midst of a shrinking national chicken wing supply. The National Chicken Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, said the 2013 Super Bowl chicken wing consumption rate is estimated to be 1.23 billion — that's 12.3 million less than last year, according to Business News Daily.
"Chicken companies produced about 1 percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices," Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the National Chicken Council, told Business News Daily.
"Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer's drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol," said Roenigk. "Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced."
In Georgia, meanwhile, police said they haven’t yet recovered the stolen chicken wings.
Thanksgiving is the year's biggest eating day, and the wings usually eaten then come from a different kind of bird.
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