Three Activists Indicted in Wegmans Break-Ins

In early October, a grand jury indicted three animal rights activists in a series of break-ins at Wegmans Egg Farm in Wolcott, New York.

Adam Durand, 25; Melanie Ippolito, 21; and Megan Cosgrove,22, were indicted on several counts each including burglary, criminal mischief, petty larceny and criminal trespass.

The three activists allegedly broke into the egg farm several times in May and August 2004. They videotaped conditions at the facility and later released a short video through their group Compassionate Consumers. The activists also removed 11 hens from the facility.

Although not indicted, Compassionate Consumers activist Jodi Chemes was fired from her job at Deloitte & Touche after publicizing the tape’s release (Wegmans is a client of Deloitte & Touche).

According to the Times of Wayne County,

In the initial arraignment, it is alleged that the Durand and Ippolito used wire cutters to gain access to the manure rooms below the chicken houses. It was also stated that they took a total of 8 hens from the buildings on at least two occasions.

The grand jury indictment has Durand charged with three counts each of Felony Burglary in the 3rd Degree, Misdemeanor Petit Larceny and Criminal Trespass. Ippolito was charged with two counts each and Cosgrove with one count each.

The Times also reported that Compassionate Consumers offered to end its campaign against Wegmans if the egg producer agreed to reduce or drop the charges against the activists (the prosecutor in the case has said he will not reduce or drop the charges without Wegmans’ consent), but apparently the company refused such a deal.


Jury indicts 3 in Wegmans Egg Farm case. Misty Edgecomb, Democrat and Chronicle, October 4, 2005.

Trio plucked by County Grand Jury for WegmanÂ’s Chicken Farm break-in. Times of Wayne County, 2005.

Three Activists Arrested, Fourth Loses Job in Wegmans Case

Three animal rights activists with Compassionate Consumers were recently charged with third-degree burglary, a felony, and a fourth was fired from her job, all stemming from several incidents in which the activists allegedly broke into Wegmans’ New York egg farm in order to videotape conditions at the farm.

Adam Durand, 25; Melanie Ippolito, 21; and Megan Cosgrove were arrested and charged with third-degree bursarial which carries a maximum sentence of up to seven years in jail.

On the tape, Durand admits that he videotaped the group’s break-ins at the farm while Ippolito and Cosgrove appear on camera describing how they removed animals from the facility.

Durand told the Finger Lake Times that the trio knew a burglary charge was a possibility, but that it was worth the risk. The newspaper quoted Durand as saying,

We plan on showing up to court and, of course, we’re going to continue to promote the film and raise awareness.

The activists were, however, apparently surprised at the charges they faced. According to the Democrat & Chroncile, the three apparently thought they would only face trespassing charges which carries just a $75 fine. Wegmans, however, has apparently pressed prosecutors to bring the burgarly charges rather than settling for just trespassing charges.

The video the three taped was publicized in July by Compassionate Consumers spokeswoman Jodi Chemes. Chemes was subsequently fired by accounting firm Deloitte & Touche.

Chemes told The Democrat & Chronicle that she believes her firing was due to her animal rights activism. Deloitte & Touche does accounting work for Wegmans Food Markets, and Chemes told The Democrat & Chronicle, “I believe Wegmans pressured them into firing me.”

Deloitte & Touche said it would not comment on a confidential personnel matter. Wegmans, however, said it did contact Deloitte & Touche about Chemes. According to The Democrat & Chronicle,

When news accounts of the animal rights documentary surfaced earlier this month, a representative of Deloitte called Wegmans to say “that one of their employees was involved,” she [Wegmans spokeswoman Joe Natale] said.

After that, “our only request to Deloitte & Touche was to assure us that the security of our information was guaranteed,” said Natale.


Fired activist blame Wegmans. Corydon Ireland, Democrat & Chronicle, July 15, 2005.

Animal rights activists charged. Mike Maslanik, Finger Lake Times, August 9, 2005.

Third felony warrant issued in Wegmans Egg Farm Case. Corydon Ireland, Democrat & Chronicle, August 5, 2005.