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

Crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 51 turns its focus to students’ mental health

‘It’s a shift in our thinking, from what we expect schools to be like and what they are now’

IN PHOTOS: 2020 Wilgress Lake Fishing Derby

Fishermen dotted Wilgress Lake for the Boundary Métis Association’s annual event

Grand Forks marches against gender violence

The Grand Forks march was part of 1 Billion Rising, a global movement against gender violence

IN PHOTOS: Boundary Museum opens its doors to families

Sing, drum, learn and fall back in time!

IN PHOTOS: Family Day weekend in Grand Forks

Fire drills, relays, road hockey and hot dogs!

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

Most Read