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Police see uptick in pecan thefts

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Roswell Police have received a significant number of calls in November about people trespassing onto properties and stealing pecans.

Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the RPD, said Wednesday that there were fewer than 10 pecan thefts in September and October combined, but there has been a significant jump this past month.

“In November, number of calls reporting people stealing pecans is somewhere between 50 and 60 so far. So it averages out to about one or two such calls a day,” Wildermuth said.

The number does not include pecan thefts that have happened in the county and outside city limits.

Wildermuth said each year the RPD gets an influx of calls about trespassers coming onto properties and stealing pecans, just as the nut is ready to be harvested and starts falling from trees.

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Most thieves typically take as many pecans as they can either carry on them, or in a bag of some sort, Wildermuth said.

He added that pecan thefts rarely lead to the pressing of criminal charges. Perpetrators have usually left the scene before officers arrive. Property owners typically opt not to press charges against pecan thieves.

When charges are not pressed, officers typically warn the thieves that if they return they could be arrested and face criminal trespass charges, and then send them on their way.

Pecan thefts are not confined to private properties. Earlier this month, Roswell Parks and Recreations Department put out a press release requesting that the public stop trying to get pecans down from trees or damaging trees to get the nut.

Earlier this month at Cahoon Park some pecan trees had branches torn from them, according to a Parks and Recreation Department press release.

Although people are allowed to collect pecans that have already fallen to the ground at city parks, people are prohibited from taking them while they are still in the trees or trying to knock the pecans or pecan branches down from the tree. People who do so could face criminal charges, according to Parks and Recreation Department officials.

Wildermuth said protecting items in a yard that are small and not bolted to the ground can be a challenge, though the presence of motion-detection lights or a dog can keep some intruders away.

“The best advice is probably to collect your pecans from the ground and trees as soon as possible so they are not lying around as a target for thieves,” Wildermuth said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.