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

crime

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

COVID-19 demolishes new construction in Greater Victoria

Value of new building permits in Greater Victoria drop more than 37 per cent

Group desperate to find solution to wrecks lining shores of Cadboro Bay

Caddy Bay ‘a wild west’ without authority, say locals

Pauquachin First Nation calls on North Saanich to help restore shellfish in Coles Bay

The nation identifies ‘residential onsite septic systems’ as one of sources of contamination

No architect for Langford building ruled ‘unreasonable’ by B.C. Supreme Court

Legal action brought against City in 2019 for permit issued on Hoffman Avenue building

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read