Sheriff’s departments across the state of Georgia have been seeing reports of nut crimes for the past several months, reports wsbtv.com in Atlanta. The motive: Wholesale prices for pecans have shot sky high.
The thefts are not limited to the best-known larger orchards of south Georgia. In Walton County, just east of Atlanta, the sheriff’s office has had three theft cases reported just in the last couple of weeks. Edwin Adcock filed one of those reports. “Here’s one right here! Here’s one right here,” Adcock told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas as he walked his property on Old Monroe Madison Road. He has several pecan trees on his family property just outside of Monroe.
Adcock said a relative spotted a group of adults scouring his land with five gallon buckets, picking up as many nuts as they could. “They didn’t have any business. I would have let them have some if they’d ask, but I just hate for anybody to steal anything,” Adcock said.
He said he doesn’t know how much the group took, or what they did with the nuts, but across the state, authorities said people are stealing pecans to sell.
In south Georgia, farmers reported seeing people using rakes to pick up the nuts and dump them into pickup trucks. Some farmers have set up surveillance cameras around their orchards, and a few have even hired security guards to patrol their properties 24 hours a day. It’s a felony in Georgia to steal 500 pounds or more, but authorities admit most people take less than that.
The problem has also spread to the southwestern United States. Adcock said he won’t be going to any extreme measures to protect his pecans, but he has added a “No Trespassing” sign to the front of his property and hopes that will be enough for thieves to leave his pecans alone.