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Hold the barbecue sauce: Stolen pig back at home with teen owner

SEFFNER — When her 200-pound pig was stolen Saturday, Ema Rivera feared the worst: barbecue.

But Boo, swiped Saturday from the Future Farmers of America program at Armwood High School in Seffner, was reunited with her 15-year-old caretaker Wednesday.

A Dover man was charged with the theft, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Rivera arrived at the school's FFA quarters to find an empty pen where she had kept Boo and a calf.

Footprints led from the pens to the road.

"I thought that she would be killed," Rivera said. "I thought that whoever took her might use her in a barbecue."

Rivera of Temple Terrace had planned to show Boo in an FFA project at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

She dubbed the pig "Boo" because she got it just before Halloween last year.

Thinking that the animals would be killed shortly after they were stolen, Rivera's hopes rose when deputies recovered the calf at a Plant City livestock auction the same day.

Hillsborough County environmental enforcement deputies recovered Boo after they got a tip about the pig's whereabouts Wednesday, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Jason Simmons, 23, has been charged with burglary and theft of livestock, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies phoned Rivera's mother, who delivered the news to her ecstatic daughter.

Rivera and Boo were reunited a short time later when deputies returned the pig to the school.

"There was a lot of people there (at the reunion)," Rivera said.

She added that she received permission from Strawberry Festival organizers to re-tag the animal for showing at the event.

She hopes to later sell the pig at auction.

Hold the barbecue sauce: Stolen pig back at home with teen owner 02/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 11:11pm]
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