When someone stole the goat back in January, Gromling, 54, posted fliers with Smokey's picture on them around town. He knew it was a theft, because Smokey wouldn't have gone far from his Chanceford Township property if he'd gotten out.
Gromling had also managed to forgive the unknown thief. He figured the person had sold the goat at an auction, or eaten it. And he was willing to assume whoever'd done it really needed the money or the food.
So he was deeply upset when he learned what police say is the truth: that somebody came onto his property, stole his pet and killed it for no particular reason.
Police said four males - Cameron Fromm, 18, of Red Lion; Jason Barnett, 19, of Windsor; Chad Snell, 20, of Red Lion; and a 16-year-old Red Lion boy- took Smokey and threw him off a 50-foot bridge on McCalls Ferry Road in Lower Chanceford Township.
The goat went missing Jan. 18 or 19 and was probably killed shortly after it was stolen, Cpl. William Tucker said.
Police found Smokey's remains two days ago, Tucker said. An anonymous tipster gave police Fromm's full name and first names of the others, Tucker said.
Fromm and the 16-year-old lied to police in their initial interviews, Tucker said. All four have since confessed.
"There was no reason for them to do this," Tucker said. "They were just out looking for something to do.
When Gromling found out how Smokey died, he went to the bridge just to see where it happened.
He hasn't bought another goat since then. Money's tight, and it's enough of a struggle to support himself.
"When they threw it over the bridge like that, that wasn't right," Gromling said Sunday night.