The bizarre theft of an entire tree’s worth of plums from a Langley City back yard has left a local couple afraid and upset.
Denny and Sunnie Skoumal live in south east Langley City, with a small plum tree off to one side of their fenced back yard.
Denny has always liked plums, so seven years ago Sunnie planted the tree for her husband, and has been nurturing it ever since.
Last year it produced just a dozen plums, but after a vigorous pruning, this year its branches were weighed down with a bumper crop.
But when she came down to check on the tree on a Sunday morning, everything was gone.
Sometime on the night of Saturday, Aug. 13th or early the following morning, someone entered their back yard and then stripped almost every fruit off the tree.
Although the tree is not much taller than an adult, it would have taken some time to get every plum and cart them away.
Whoever did it spent a significant amount of time in the yard and escaped without being detected. They also likely stood on a chair or found a stool of some kind to reach the higher fruits.
The thief or thieves left a handful of plums on one branch, but those vanished the next day.
The incident has scared the couple.
“They could escalate,” said Sunnie.
“Ultimately, that’s the huge issue,” said Denny.
They are seriously considering installing security cameras around their home, or other security measures.
Sunnie is both frightened and angry that someone stole all the hard work she put into tending the tree over the last several years.
“I was heartbroken, I was crying,” she said.
A Langley RCMP officer did send an officer, who made inquiries around the neighbourhood, said Sgt. Alexandra Mulvihill, a detachment spokesperson.
The police are concerned about the trespassing and the fact that the thief accessed their back yard for some time.
There did not appear to be any witnesses or useful video footage from any nearby homes.
It’s an unusual crime, Mulvihill said, and couldn’t think of too many other incidences of produce theft.
“You usually get the kids around Halloween who take a pumpkin or two,” said Mulvihill.
Although there is a homeless encampment about half a mile away in Nicomekl Park, Mulvihill said there doesn’t seem to have been an increase in petty thefts around the area.
Local food banks and the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope often already receive, and give out, fruit from local trees from private donors or the Langley Community Harvest program.