The owners of luxury vehicles, some valued at as much as $100,000, have been pulling over to poach pumpkins from a Richmond farmer’s field.
That’s according to a report in the Richmond News, which found one farmer had to go out of pocket by $1,600 to erect a fence to keep the pumpkin pilferers at bay.
Reporter Graeme Wood uncovered the banditry, and joined CKNW’s Steele & Drex to explain explain what’s been going on.
According to Wood, the target of the thefts is George Gens, a Paraguayan farmer who immigrated to Canada nearly 30 years ago.
While he’s lived and worked on a Canadian farm for decades, it’s only in the last four years that he’s seen theft of this magnitude, according to Wood’s report.
But what’s really upset the farmer isn’t that the pumpkins are being taken. It’s who’s taking them.
“People are coming in overnight and stealing pumpkins,” Wood said.
“However what makes this a bit more unique is that the cars that he is catching are usually Mercedes Benzes, Range Rovers, and you know, the likes of BMWs,” he added.
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Putting up a fence wasn’t Gens’ first line of defence.
First he tried posting signs — in multiple languages — in an effort to discourage the thieves.
When that didn’t work, he tried confronting some of them.
Wood said those who were caught red-handed have been playing dumb, and that Gens, whom he described as non-confrontational, has been reluctant to press the issue.
“You know, they put the pumpkin down and they’re on their way. He’s a very kind gentleman and I know he’s had theft problems before,” Wood said.
As far as Wood knows, besides the value of the cars, there hasn’t been much that unites the thieves.
“He didn’t identify any cultural issues,” Wood said.
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In the end, the farmer had enough of the late-night gourd grifters and rented a security fence. He’s also installed cameras, according to Wood’s report.
Gens and his farm aren’t the only ones that have faced recent challenges as Richmond’s rural and urban identities collide.
“We’re right up against the farmland here, we’re a big city, there’s a line, and then there’s farms. So there’s a lot of issues about how people are treating farmers, respecting them,” Wood said.
Growing concern about theft from fields and problems with drivers stopping in roadways to watch harvests has prompted the city to launch a new “Respect our farmers” information and social media campaign.