URBANA — An Armstrong man has been charged with three felonies after his arrest early Friday for allegedly stealing anhydrous ammonia from a Royal fertilizer plant for use in the production of methamphetamine.
Matthew T. Talbott, 28, was arrested by Champaign County sheriff’s deputies and members of the Illinois State Police Meth Response Team about 12:55 a.m. at the Farmers AG Service, 301 N. Railroad St., Royal.
Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Carlson said because of recent anyhydrous ammonia thefts there — the most recent being March 11 — police were doing surveillance at the plant.
“Deputies saw him walk on the property. He went to the northeast portion of the lot to the tanks, put a hose on a storage tank and began to siphon anhydrous into a clear jug. Once he turned his wrist as though he was turning off the tank, they approached and identified themselves as deputies. He ran but was caught within 40 yards,” Carlson said.
Carlson said Talbott confessed to stealing the ammonia, used in the production of methamphetamine, because he needed money to pay his child support.
Talbott was charged with possession of anhydrous ammonia, unlawful methamphetamine manufacture and unlawful use of a vehicle in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The first two charges are Class 1 felonies carrying penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years upon conviction. The latter is a Class 2 felony with penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.
Talbott was out on bond on a methamphetamine-related charge in Iroquois County. If convicted of the crimes in both counties, he would have to serve any sentences one after the other. He is alleged to have been involved in the production of the drug in the Watseka area in December, Carlson said.