Thieves Steal Bees Worth $100k

Thieves Steal Bees Worth $100k

Tony Ureste, Contributor

Last week Brenner and his father George Brenner, owner of the Valley Honey Company in Queen Creek, reported that several bee pallets and bees, worth more than $50k, were reported missing. These bees are worth more than half the income of the farmers, the majority of it coming from honey being produced by the bees, while the other comes from them being transported to California to assist in the pollination of local crops. This high demand for the bees comes from the global shortage of honey bees, and with high demand can come high prices in the market for bees.

When discussing with George Brenner he stated that his farm was not the only bee hives that were stolen, “There are three of us, total, and one attempted. The guy just happened to come into the bee yard as these crooks were starting to load up his bees at night”. When totalling the amount of beehives and pallets stolen from all farms, the stolen goods were worth $100k. “Pretty dang lousy because it had to be somebody pretty close to us, who we knew. Someone who knew where these bees were, because they’re hidden out here for a dang reason” said Brenner.

Hoping to find the culprit of the stolen bees, the farms turned to the media in hopes that the community can help find the thieves. Thankfully, social media sites like FaceBook, allowed people within the bee community to give tips to the farmers. Once they were given the information, it was reported to the Maricopa police where the case was handled. After a while, the case was tracked down to a location in Wickenburg. A stake out for the bees was commenced until law enforcement could go in and make the arrest for the bees. When making the arrest, the thieves were caught chipping away the farms brands embedded within the hives in order to transport them across state lines.

The Maricopa County Sheriff retrieved the stolen properties and returned them to the farmers. The thieves themselves were only given a citation and were not arrested after stealing a high valued good. The Brenners were puzzled with the fact that the thieves were not charged with a more serious sentence, “The Maricopa Sheriff’s [Officer] said we can’t hold them, they give them a ticket, they have to show up somewhere later down the line, there’s something really wrong with the system” said Brenner. He later stated that he can’t understand why someone who stole such a high valued item wouldn’t immediately be shipped to jail.

As the growing demand for honey bee pollination continues to rise, more beekeepers are at risk for the threat of their bees being stolen. As of now the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is taking over the case because that is who took the stolen items report, they stated they will send a request to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office recommending charges including theft and possession of stolen property. The Brenners also plan to purchase an order of protection on their bees in order to further protect them from thieves, they also plan to press further charges.