Theft of hives is happening more and more to beekeepers these days, and one local beekeeper in Miami finally had enough. Since it was unlikely he was going to get any results with the local police, he turned sleuth to see what was happening to his bee hives.
Miami-Dade Beekeeper Wainsworth Brown teamed up with his leasing agent, Adam Locke, American Bee Project President, to create a “sting” against the thief. “We’ve got a beekeeper just taking it on the chin. His business is suffering with the vandalism and the theft, so I told him we’d get to the bottom of it,” Locke stated.
The two amateur detectives set up a remote camera, then waited for the man with the sticky fingers to show up. They did not have to wait very long, but they found out the alleged thief was probably the last person they ever would have thought would be pilfering from locals… a local pastor.
Yoel Torres, a Miami Lakes pastor, was charged by the Miami-Dade police when the two handed over their video surveillance of the local preacher taking Brown’s bounty. During one trip, the pastor was caught pilfering 25 of the bee boxes, each of which contained tens of thousands of bees. Worse yet, he was not caught just once, but three times!
Torres came to the scene well-prepared, according to the police report. When he arrived, he was wearing a full beekeeper suit and used his pickup truck to transport the bees home. Unfortunately for Torres, he did not take as much care to hide his theft as he did in preparing for it.
As happens in many cases today, Torres started posting pictures of his “new hobby” on Facebook. “I feel bad that somebody who’s a pillar of the community got caught, but nobody is above the law,” Locke stated.
After his arrest, Torres told the police he thought someone abandoned the boxes. He claimed to have called the company he thought owned the land and got their permission to remove them. The company, however, did not own the land and they also denied giving him permission, starting “They [the bee boxes] were definitely not on our property, so no one from the Graham Company gave him permission.”
Luckily for Locke, he was able to recover some of the stolen bees. In all, he was recovered 40 boxes, which contained about 50,000 bees each. He estimated the value of his recovery at about $1,000.
Photo via 628DirtRooster Youtube Video