TOWN OF PORTER, Niagara County — State Police are investigating the theft of $5,000 worth of Honeycrisp apples from Sanger Farms in Porter.
The farm owners say the apples were taken from the farm on Lockport Road sometime between September 7th and September 21st. They apples were picked from the bottoms of the trees, and police say those sections were picked clean.
“They just picked the bottom halves of the trees and left the tops,” explained Mike Tuck, owner/operator, Sanger Farms.
Tuck said someone, at night, picked his top-of-the-line Honeycrisp Apples in a secluded area of his farm not open to the public.
“Totally secluded. It’s about a half mile from the store on the main road and its all lanes and dirt paths, so to get there you would have to know where you are going,” described Tuck.
“I’m not going to lie — it is a very unusual case — we're talking $5,000 worth of Honeycrisp Apples. They're very expensive to manufacture Honeycrips apples,” stated Trooper James O’Callaghan, PIO, Troop A.
Trooper O’Callaghan tells 7 Eyewitness News investigators believe the apples are being sold because of their value..
“The apples have to go somewhere — somewhere these things are either being sold or traded for, so that's kind of where our investigative steps go,” O’Callaghan replied.
The farm owner says he has no idea who knew about his private orchard area.
“They came in during the night. One of my neighbors seen the vehicle go in there. at 9'o'clock at night and come out much later — didn't think to call me because he thought it was one of us,” recalls Tuck.
Trooper O’Callaghan says investigators have collected evidence, talked to neighbors and are checking for possible cameras from nearby homes and the farm owner is cooperating with the investigations.
“They've given us everything they could possible give us and that's why we are seeking the public's assistance to try to broaden our scope to bring these people to justice,” remarked O’Callaghan.
Tuck believes he lost between four to six totes filled with apples — that holds about about 40-half bushels of apples in each tote.
“That somewhere, you know, that they've been sold to somebody to resell,” responded Tuck.
Tuck said he plans to put up cameras and motion lights for next year's apple season. But for now he's hoping state police can take a ‘bite out of crime” and solve this case.
Police are asking anyone who knows anything about this to call them at 585-644-6200.