ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A pair of beekeepers are out thousands of dollars after two of their five beehives were stolen.
The farmers say they feel as though a part of their livelihood has been stolen, and hope the thief will be caught.
Mark Schandelmeier is a co-owner of Lost and Found Farm, at 6642 Latham Road.
“I went out there to look, and you can tell both hives were moved. They’re very large and substantial…and they were taken with dollies during the night. [The thieves] probably had bee suits,” he said.
Two of the hives were stolen.
“Between the cost of the bees and the hives and the honey, we lost about $4,000 worth,” he added.
Mark and his wife, Nicole, started beekeeping four years ago, and say it took hard work to care for the five bee hives.
“Emotionally, it hit us. I mean, this is what we do. This is our way of outreach and teaching other people, and it makes it rough on us, not only financially, but emotionally. But, to take something…within your own community, it’s just ridiculous,” he said.
Theresa Harris is a longtime customer of Lost and Found Farm, and said she was shocked by the theft.
“It was heartbreaking that anyone would be willing to hurt a small business right now,” she said.
Harris says she buys honey from the farm on a weekly basis.
“I suffer from some inflammation issues, as does my husband, and we regularly use honey. I’ll pour a spoonful of honey and eat a spoonful of honey,” she said.
Schandelmeier says all he wants is that his bees be returned, safely.
“I really wish that whoever took them just bring them back, so we can continue the program,” he said. “I’m not going to ask any questions. Just bring them back so I can get my equipment and bees back, that’s all I ask.”
The couple has started a GoFundMe to help with the loss.