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Odd theft makes tough season even tougher for one apple grower

One of the trees they left behind
One of the trees they left behind

BLOOMINGDALE (WKZO) -- Van Buren County Deputies are investigating an unusual theft near Bloomingdale.  Someone cleaned out a field at an apple orchard, stealing 33 golden delicious apple saplings. They disappeared sometime Wednesday or Thursday 

The trees were recently planted in a field near 45th Street and 15th Avenue, and were 2-3 years old.  They measured only 3 feet in height and the trunks were ¾ of an inch in diameter.  They would not bear fruit for 4 to 5 years.

The theives must have known that they were freshly planted and had not taken root.  They must also have a use for nearly three dozen apple trees. Evidence at the scene suggests whoever did it had help. The thieves just had to reach down and pull them up, load them onto a truck and drive away..