True Crime Thanksgiving


by Debbie Burke



Happy Thanksgiving! 

For True Crime Thursday, I dug up a few Thanksgiving stories about fowl play–go ahead and groan, you won’t hurt my feelings.

The fight against retail theft leads to new technology at self-checkout stations. Would-be turkey-nappers leave the bird in the basket without scanning it; or they place the turkey on the scale but enter a code for a cheaper item, e.g. 59 cent/pound bananas. Here’s a link.

Thanksgiving in Canada was October 14. This video caught a woman in Ontario who thought she could stuff the bird under her shirt and masquerade as pregnant. No report if she suffered frostbitten belly.

Thieves stole 85 turkeys and pheasants from Gary and Val Ertman’s Thumb Egg Ranch in Unionville, Michigan.

According to the Saginaw/Bay City News: “The farm produces birds for purchase as babies, egg layers, and meat for a variety of customers. The farm raises ducks, geese, pheasants, quail, peacocks, chickens, and turkeys. The Ertmans also sell young birds to 4-H kids for their poultry projects.”

Normally, the Ertmans butcher turkeys on the Monday before Thanksgiving for customers who want a fresh bird. Unfortunately this year, there’s no time to raise stock to replace the stolen poultry.

“If somebody is hungry, we would feed them…but don’t steal that many,” said Gary Ertman.

Last but not least, here’s tidbit of North Dakota history. In 1925, “grand theft turkey” was a felony punishable by up to five years in the penitentiary. The law was passed after a rash of thefts from farms. The most notable case involved nine stolen birds and a high-speed (50 mph) automobile chase where neighbors pursued rowdy young locals. Thieves released the birds but were caught with two feathered kidnapping victims still in the trunk of their getaway car.


Today, among many blessings, I especially give thanks for my husband, reasonably good health, and the opportunity to pursue writing surrounded by wonderful friends including TKZ readers.

Wishing you a bountiful Thanksgiving! Hope the worst crime you experience is that darn brother-in-law who steals the drumstick you had your eye on.

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About Debbie Burke

Debbie writes Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with Heart...and Sass. The first book in the series, Instrument of the Devil, won the Kindle Scout contest and the Zebulon Award. Additional books in the series are Stalking Midas, Eyes in the Sky, Dead Man's Bluff, Crowded Hearts, and Flight to Forever. Debbie's articles have won journalism awards in international publications. She is a founding member of Authors of the Flathead and helps to plan the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Her greatest joy is mentoring young writers.

7 thoughts on “True Crime Thanksgiving

  1. If I were to attempt grand-theft-turkey, I try to use a drone… Kind of limits the size of my bird though…

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