by Carson Gerber
For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — PERU – A 33-year-old Peru man faces charges of theft and corrupt business influence after state police say he stole more than $63,000 worth of grain from a widowed farmer.
State police started an investigation into Brent Graber after his boss, Jodi Coblentz, owner of Coblentz Farms in Miami County, reported a theft from her business.
Coblentz told police Graber worked as a farmhand, but she promoted him to farm manager after her husband died earlier this year.
Graber oversaw the transportation and sale of corn and soybeans to a local grain elevator, police said, and profits from the sold crops were supposed to be deposited into the bank accounts of Coblentz Farms.
However, police say Graber deposited more than $63,000 of the profits since October into his personal account.
Graber and his girlfriend, Jessica Brooks, 27, Peru, used the money to go on a spending spree, police said, buying a couch, chair, tables, a washer and dryer, a bed, a vehicle, guns and hunting equipment.
Police said Brooks agreed and conspired with Graber to steal the grain for profit.
Graber faces two felony charges of theft and corrupt business influence. Police served the warrant to Graber, who was being held at the Miami County jail on a failure to appear warrant for a previous drunk driving charge.
Brooks was also arrested on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit theft and incarcerated at the jail.