A citrus thief in our midst

THERE IS NO DOUBT that these tough economic times seem to be affecting just about every industry in the country. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and putting in extra hard work, however, some individuals choose the path of dishonor and disgrace. Across Polk County, there recently has been a surge in thefts of orange trees from several commercial groves. These individuals choose to steal rather than be responsible and valuable members of their community and industry.

While it’s going to be difficult to catch these culprits red-handed, citrus growers are a very close-knit group and are on the alert. If someone is stealing trees from one grower with the motivation to turn around and sell those trees to another, it won’t be long before time sneaks up on the thief.

One way to help speed along the process is to inform the Polk County Sheriff’s Agriculture Unit of anyone trying to sell citrus trees at ridiculously low prices. Spotting a tree going for around one to three dollars apiece, or well below normal wholesale value, is one way to identify a possible culprit. You can reach the unit at (863) 298-6200. Chances are a tip like that just might lead authorities to the criminals responsible.


column by EVAN QUINN

BIO: Evan Quinn is a native Floridian who went to high school at Winter Haven High. He learned hard work and customer service from his labor on the family’s poultry operation while growing up. He has operated Quinn and Company Land Services, Citrus Nursery Management, and Central Florida Pest Management for the past 11 years.

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