'For a steak, you could probably get a crack rock' - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

'For a steak, you could probably get a crack rock'

RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Rusk County authorities say people are stealing meat to buy drugs.

In a plea bargain Wednesday, Kevin Lee Davis, 34 of Henderson, accepted a 15 year sentence for stealing meat from a grocery store, and punching the store manager in the face.

A Rusk County prosecutor says this is not an isolated case, and they're prepared to beef up the punishments.

Surveillance video shows a butcher and store manager chasing Kevin Davis, who was hiding four stolen packages of red meat under his shirt.

Prosecutor Richard Kennedy says what happened next put Davis' freedom at stake.

"The element of the robbery is not just the theft but the violence. He managed to turn a shoplifting into a robbery by fighting the people who owned the property and trying to keep him from stealing," said Kennedy.

Kennedy says Davis was known by the store managers as a repeat meat thief. But there was little compassion; they say Davis was not stealing the meat out of hunger.

"Meat is... it's money," said Kennedy. "You can take meat and if it's still wrapped up and it's fresh, you can take it to your drug dealer and trade it for crack or meth instead of having money."

It sounds odd; trading raw meat for drugs, but Kennedy says it's been happening for years. He says drug dealers see packages of meat as money, and those addicted to drugs view the meat as a means to an end. 

"My suspicion is for a steak, you could probably get a crack rock.

He says he hopes others involved in such a desperate crime of stealing meat for drugs will consider the punishment that Davis now faces.

"We're trying to send a message that we're just not going to tolerate violence," said Kennedy.

Davis was also sentenced to eight years in state prison for robbery back in 1998.

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