Leeanne and Jack Guthrie at the fruit stand outside their Brentwood Bay home. The stand typically sells baskets of raspberries for $5. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

B.C. fruit stand robbed on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

A family’s roadside fruit stand in Greater Victoria was robbed on the first day of the season.

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie spent hours on Sunday picking raspberries at their son Jonathan’s small farm and were excited to get the season underway, selling them at their stand. However, by evening they found they had been targeted by a thief and their stand’s fridge and cashbox were empty.

The baskets typically sell for $5 and the couple can make $60 on a good day.

ALSO READ: Sidney comes alive with a family-friendly day of land and sea events

“The reason we were so upset was we had just opened it up, dusted it off, put the fridge out and the first two baskets go missing,” said Jack.

“We just thought, ‘Already?’ It was a real kick in the stomach, so disheartening,” agrees Leeanne.

The couple have lived in their home on Wallace Drive for 32 years and have run the road-side stand for much of that time. The stand was already there when they moved in and their house, built in 1938, once sat on a large strawberry farm. To them, the stand is a community resource and running it continues the legacy of the area’s small town charm. Over the years, the stand has also grown to be a focal point for their family, with the couple moving from selling flowers to plums, from their backyard tree. Their son Jonathan fell in love with agriculture selling the plums and is now a farmer, running Mt. St. Michael’s Farm in Saanichton with his wife Kate.

ALSO READ: Sidney Mounties and Saanich PD nab break and enter suspect

“Jonathan’s friends would come over and pick plums and we’d say, ‘You know what? Whatever you pick, you put on the stand and you keep the money.’ It was good, it made him a hard worker and now he’s living it. It’s in our blood, that’s for sure,” says Leeanne.

Unfortunately, the theft hasn’t been an isolated incident, with Jack and Leeanne able to reel off a list of neighbours who have had their stands stolen from. Last spring, Jonathan’s own beautiful wooden stand was vandalized, with wooden boards crow-barred, and the cashbox ripped out.

“Over the past year we’ve lost $30 or $40, it isn’t huge but it’s still like someone’s dipped into our pocket and taken 4o bucks, it’s definitely theft,” says Jack.

“You feel violated, it’s wrong and it makes me sad,” adds Leeanne.

Stand owners are now wondering what they can do. Many like the honour system as that’s the type of community they believe they live in and want to trust people. But others are now looking at technological solutions like cameras and even e-transfer payment systems.

ALSO READ: Peninsula food bank ‘desperate’ for donations

On Sunday, Leeanne posted on Facebook about her experience and was overwhelmed by the supportive response.

“The community coming together has been unbelievably positive,” she says.

“It’s rallied the neighbours and hopefully they’ll keep an eye out,” agreed Jack, noting that people have been paying the correct amount since the theft.

The Guthries are keen to emphasize that if someone is facing difficulties, they would be happy to help them get a picking job or even gift them the raspberries if they are truly in need. They just hope the thief reflects on the energy and investment farmers like Jonathan spend to grow produce, and the hours stand owners put in to provide such community resources.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

49th Parallel invests in their employees leadership potential

49th has sponsored 22 employees to go through the Leadership Vancouver Island program

Yellow Point Ecological Society releases video advocating for the protection of private forests

The group is concerned about the loss of forests in the Yellow Point area

LSS improv program gives students an opportunity to be themselves and entertain others

The Ladysmith Secondary School improv program has planned two weeks of shows for the community

New Sonic the Hedgehog trailer shows off Ladysmith and new character animation

At long last, Sonic the Hedgehog will hit theatres on February 14

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read