Thieves Steal Fruit Harvests From Kansas City-Area Churches

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Thieves in the Kansas City area have in the past month have taken two churches' fruit harvests.

Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Liberty had planned to harvest grapes it grows after a Sunday worship service earlier this month, WDAF-TV reports. But members discovered that all 1,500 pounds of grapes had been stolen, apparently cut off their vines.

The church has for about 15 years had the grapes bottled for communion wine. The harvest is a big annual event, especially for children in the congregation. The grapes were valued at $1,500.

“This wasn’t really about theft of grapes,” said Pastor Mike Kern. “We don’t care about the value. It was more of a theft of joy."

Kern's church was not alone. St. Peter and All Saints Episcopal Church in Kansas City reported that four of its apple and pear trees were recently picked clean, too. The anticipated harvest was three or four years in the making.

The Rev. Jonathan Frazier said the Episcopal church donates its fruit to a nearby food pantry and a downtown homeless shelter.

“So it’s just really sad because for somebody to take that quantity of fruit, they’re probably going to sell it,” he said.