50,000 apples stolen from LaPorte County orchard

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The owner of Williams Orchard in La Porte County says he cannot believe nearly 50,000 apples were stolen from his orchard this past week.

What he does believe is that the person who did it may have been there before.

"Where they chose within the farm, it seems to be someone that is familiar with the farm,” Williams Orchard owner Jon Drummond said.

Drummond says he was going through his weekly checkup on his fruit when he noticed on Saturday that an entire acre of apples was gone.

“We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, the whole block is picked. The entire section is picked through,’” Drummond said.

After realizing someone may have stolen the apples during the week, Drummond called police. Following an initial investigation, Drummond says a new gate with no lock may have been how the thieves got in.

“We put some new fence in about three weeks ago. The challenge is we hadn’t installed the lock on that fence because it was brand new,” Drummond said.

He says he believes someone opened the latch on the fence, made their way in and began knocking the apples off of the trees.

After a two-year hiatus, Williams Orchard reopened under new ownership three weeks ago on Labor Day.

The stolen apples will cause Drummond to lose out on $27,000 this year.

Despite the loss, Drummond says there is one thing that has him peeling away from all the negativity.

"This isn’t fun. It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening. But you look at some of the comments on different newspaper articles and news and you just crack up, because there is so many great people out there that have funny one-liners. The one one-liner that I really love is someone says, ‘I hope they get to the core of the problem.’ That’s hilarious,” Drummond said with a laugh.

Police are investigating the theft. Meanwhile, security cameras, locks and more precautions have been installed around the orchard to make sure something like this never happens again.