Suspected ginseng thief arrested in Harrison County

Charles Cole Jr. turns himself in

Suspected ginseng thief arrested in Harrison County
44-year-old Charles Cole Jr has turned himself in in connection with a series of ginseng thefts. (Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resource)

HARRISON COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - An Indiana man accused of stealing large amounts of a surprisingly valuable root has turned himself in.

The Associated Press reported Friday that 44-year-old Charles Cole Jr., of New Salisbury, contacted officers Friday to arrange his surrender.

Cole was accused of trespassing on land in Harrison County on Oct. 10. A trail camera captured images of a man stealing ginseng plants, and investigators said a different trail camera was taken from a tree on the property. Investigators recognized the man in the images as Cole.

The investigation led Indiana Conservation Officers to stolen ginseng, nine stolen trail cameras and memory cards. That led to a warrant being issued against Cole, who was the subject of other similar complaints in nearby Washington County.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials said this week that Cole has sold at least 40 pounds of ginseng, which is believed to be stolen from unsuspecting landowners. Current market value for dry ginseng in Harrison County ranges from $500-$650 per pound.

Ginseng is a root that is used for medicinal purposes. It can be harvested in 19 states, but the market is regulated to ensure a healthy population for the future.

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.