The Great Zucchini Heist

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 3, 2017

My grandfather is a landscaper and gardener, so my grandparents have a massive vegetable garden in their backyard. It produces way more food than they actually need. My grandmother has a deal with one of her neighbors, who is an amazing cook and baker as well as a good friend to my grandmother, where she can come over at anytime and take as many vegetables as she wants and she’ll bake my grandparents several loaves of chocolate zucchini bread in return. She is the only person they have this deal with, though my grandmother will sometimes give free vegetables to neighbors who ask for them.

One day her friend comes over for some zucchini because she is having a get together and decides to make some bread for the dessert table, only to discover that the plants are completely barren of fruit. There aren’t even any unripened, not quite ready to pick zucchinis on the plant despite the fact that it’s peak season for them. She asks my grandparents about this, wondering if they’re having a bad year with their plants, but my grandmother shows her a zucchini she just picked the previous day and claims there were dozens more at least.

A week later, someone takes most of the tomatoes and digs up almost all of the carrots, which is discovered because the neighbor came over for a couple of onions for a soup she’s making for a dinner party she’s hosting. After the theft is discovered, her husband, who is a retired, disabled Vietnam vet who doesn’t really do much other than stay at home and entertain friends because his disabilities make it difficult for him to walk or travel, sits outside for two days, watching the garden while my grandparents aren’t home, until he catches the thief.

It turns out another one of the neighbors saw that my grandmother’s friend was going in and out of their garden and just taking vegetables whenever she wanted and decided that meant it was open for anyone to just take whatever they wanted. He was stealing the vegetables and selling them at a local farmer’s market.

When my grandfather confronts him, the guy tells my grandfather that it was his own fault for not telling him that he couldn’t just take all of them for profit. He never asked if it was okay or even indicated that he was doing it in the first place…

He later got arrested after security footage revealed he was the one who was stealing another neighbor’s prized, show-quality lop rabbits from an outdoor hutch and it turned out he was butchering and eating them. He had even cut a lock they had installed to try to prevent the theft. I guess she never told him that he couldn’t just take and eat her pets, either.

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