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Food by VICE

Thief Stole 50,000 Apples by Just Shaking the Trees Really Hard, Orchard Owner Says

"We just couldn’t even fathom it."

by Jelisa Castrodale
30 September 2019, 4:41am

This article originally appeared on VICE US

If we hear the phrase "five-figure apple theft," most of us are gonna immediately assume that it referred to a smash-and-grab at a high-end retailer, or a well-coordinated crime that involved, like, three pairs of AirPods. But when $27,000 worth of apples-with-a-lower-case-a were stolen sometime last week, it was a completely no-tech crime that presumably just involved shaking the shit out of a bunch of trees.

According to WSBT, someone—or several someones—let themselves into Williams Orchard in La Porte County, Indiana, and they stole every single fruit from more than an acre's worth of apple trees. Jon Drummond, who bought and re-opened the orchard less than a month ago, told the station that, in total, more than 50,000 apples were taken. "To be able to see an entire block of trees, nearly cleanly picked, when just days earlier there were thousands and thousands of apples on them, we just couldn’t even fathom it," he told the station.

Drummond said that the missing apples were discovered last weekend. The victimized trees are all at the back of the orchard, and Williams thinks that the perpetrators literally just put bins or tarps on the ground and shook the trees hard enough to knock the apples loose. He said that whoever targeted that area is probably going to make applesauce or cider but, dude, 50,000 apples' worth of applesauce sounds like A LOT of applesauce.

He called the cops and it seems like whoever made off with all that fruit seemed to know their way around the orchard, and it also seems like they got in by just opening an unlocked gate. "We put some new fence in about three weeks ago," Drummond told WNDU. "The challenge is we hadn’t installed the lock on that fence because it was brand new." He's since fixed that, and has also added some security cameras, in case anyone was thinking about filling an above-ground pool with stolen apples this weekend.

On the bright side, Williams Orchard stretches across 135 acres of land, so as huge as the theft sounds, it only added up to about 5 percent of its total apple haul. On the even brighter side, Drummond has enjoyed some of the social media comments about his situation. "The one one-liner that I really love is someone says, 'I hope they get to the core of the problem,'" he said. "That’s hilarious."

Whoever hit Drummond's orchard isn't the only apple-stealing asshole out there: Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, New York has recently started to charge apple pickers a $5 entry fee because they've had repeated problems with people taking way more than they're supposed to. WYNT reports that "not a day goes by" without the Samascott family pulling their own fruits and vegetables out of some entitled visitor's trunk, glove box, or even out of the wheel well of their car. (Yeah, they search every car before it leaves, which kind of makes the whole experience seem a little less charming). We're not recommending any kind of thievery, but it does seems like less of a hassle to just swipe something from the mall.