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Man accused of stealing hemp to flip as pot

A White City man was arrested Sunday after he was allegedly caught stealing hemp from a Central Point farm with plans to sell it as the crop’s cannabis cousin.

Zane Hunter Dale, 33, was arrested in the 1300 block of Gregory Road, “hiding in some bushes on the hemp farm,” according to documents filed by the sheriff’s office in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The farm’s surveillance cameras spotted someone stealing plants shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, and the footage led police to Dale, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Police said Dale had a pair of clippers and a roll of garbage bags that matched already-filled bags of hemp in the field.

Police said they also found a small plastic bag of methamphetamine on Dale.

Dale allegedly admitted to police that he cut about 20 pounds of hemp out of the field, adding that he planned to sell it as marijuana on the street because he was facing eviction and needed rent money.

The farm estimated its loss as between $1,000 and $1,500, court documents said.

Dale made his initial court appearance Monday afternoon on a felony charge of first-degree criminal mischief and misdemeanor counts of attempted first-degree theft, possessing methamphetamine and second-degree trespassing.

Dale separately faces a charge of first-degree burglary, accusing him of attempting to steal a Santa Cruz mountain bike from an occupied Medford residence in the 1100 block of Ashford Way late last month, and Jackson County court records show he has identity theft and first-degree theft convictions from 2014.

Dale remained held Tuesday afternoon in the Jackson County Jail on $40,000 bail.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Zane Hunter Dale