50,000 apples stolen from orchard

Credit: Pat Christman/The Free Press via AP

Credit: Pat Christman/The Free Press via AP

An orchard that had just opened for business on Labor Day is now missing part of its apple crop from an acre of the farm after someone stole 50,000 apples.

It happened at Williams Orchard in LaPorte County, Indiana, WSBT reported.

Jon Drummond recently purchased the long-standing business this summer.

He is surprised someone stole from it to such a degree.

"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," Drummond told WSBT.

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He believes it happened last week but was only discovered Saturday, despite installing a new fence around the property.

However, the owners hadn't gotten around to installing the locks for the gates prior to the apple heist.

"Unfortunately, we hadn't installed all the locks on the fence at the time. So it likely was easier than we'd like to admit, you just drive up, open the gate and come onto the property," Drummond told WSBT.

As for the trees that are missing their fruit, they're in the back of the orchard, and Drummond thinks someone spread a tarp below the trees and shook them to make the apples fall to the ground below. No apples were found on the ground around the targeted area.

"Very often, people that would mass pick in that type of area would want to use those for making apple sauce or making cider, which is pretty common these days," Drummond told WSBT.

The sheriff's office is now looking for a vehicle large enough to transport the fruit haul, which weighed an estimated 20,000 pounds, NWI reported.

While the number 50,000 is large to some, it's actually only about 5% of what Drummond grew this year, according to WSBT. The value is about $27,000 retail, or about $6,000 wholesale, NWI reported.

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