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)

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered 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 Brentwood Bay 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

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

New wing opens at Victoria International Airport

The 19,000 sq. ft. passenger lounge can hold up to 500 people

Realtor pitches Langford’s third retail cannabis store

Local business owner Ron Cheeke prepares to open Honeycomb Cannabis

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read