Saw this on Yahoo this AM. Check your LBS for evidence!
OTTAWA (AFP) - Thieves in Canada's westernmost province stole an entire blueberry patch, or 20,000 bushes worth about 75,000 Canadian dollars (65,000 US), amid skyrocketing berry prices, police said.
The bandits struck overnight earlier this week and left a "large mess in the field," Constable Casey Vinet of the Abbotsford police in British Columbia province told AFP Thursday.
The farmer had the blueberry bushes delivered and intended to have them planted, but when his laborers showed up, the plants were gone, he said.
"I've been here 13 years and it's the first time I've ever heard of blueberries being stolen," Vinet said. "Sometimes folks are caught stealing a few stalks of corn for personal use, but never an entire field."
"We don't have any suspects," he added. "But a blueberry patch would be pretty hard to fence (sell as stolen goods)."
Marc Sweeney, a blueberry expert with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, said berry farming has suddenly become very lucrative with an average grower price of 1.43 US dollars per pound, up from a record 0.98 US dollars per pound in 2005.
"There's been incredible demand for blueberries since new research showed significant health benefits from blueberry consumption: anti-cancer properties, increased mental alertness, even better vision," he said.
New crops are being planted throughout the world, he said, and business is brisk.
Sweeney said the spoils of "the great blueberry heist" will likely end up on one of several new blueberry farms in the local Fraser Valley. But, it will take almost two years for the young bushes to bear fruit, he added.