BISHOPVILLE, SC – The Clarendon County Sheriff's Office arrested a man they believe is responsible for vandalizing 16 chicken houses resulting in the deaths of 300,000 chickens, according to news reports.

James Lavern Lowery, 44, of Sumter County was arrested at his home on April 7. The Clarendon County Sheriff's Office had issued warrants for Lowery's arrest and asked him to come to the sheriff's office for questioning. Sheriff's deputies went to Lowery's home and placed him under arrest after Lowery failed to appear.

Lowery was a contract poultry grower for Pilgrim's Pride Corp., but the contract was terminated. He now faces eight counts of second-degree burglary and four counts of malicious injury to animals over $10,000, according to the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office.

The vandalism occurred over a two-week period. Lowery allegedly disabled alarm systems to the chicken houses on three separate occasions, turning the heat on or off to kill the birds. Losses were estimated between $1.2 million and $1.7 million.