MULLICA HILL, N.J. - Local Peach farmer says $1,000 worth of peaches was stolen from his farm.
Tom Holtzhauser's owns and maintains his family’s century old farm in Mullica Hill. Earlier this week, when he went to collect this season’s fruit, he says there was a week’s worth of harvest stolen from his orchards.
"Every single tree that would have picked peaches that day there wasn't one piece of fruit left. Everything was gone,” says Holtzhauser.
“We figure it was done during the full moon where they didn't need flashlights needed to pick the fruit"
This isn't the first time Farmer Tom has had issues with thieves. Holtzhauser says they acted fast and probably work in a group, He said they targeted the white peaches which is the more expensive fruit.
"It was devastating,” he said. “I mean it’s a lot to me. I'm not the biggest farm in the area and every single piece of fruit is money.”
Holtzhauser estimates that 700 pounds of peaches were stolen totaling approximately a $1,000 loss. Even more then the money, this was Holtzhauser's hardwork reaping no reward.
“It's like someone punched me in the stomach it's a sickening feeling,” says Holtzhauser.
"It's a nine month kind of labor. Between the labor you put in, it's blood sweat and tears you're freezing in the winter you're sweating in the summer. Fuzz and insects I mean it takes its toll on you. They’re long hours. I work 12, 13, 15 hours some days and it's seven days a week start to finish"
Harrison Township Police Lieutenant Ronald Cundey says his officers are stepping up night time patrols of the area farms.
"This is traditionally a farm town and we do have a lot of farmers left and they're just trying to make a living and these guys work hard every day," says Lieutenant Cundy.
Right now, police have few leads. They are staying vigilant asking neighbors to do the same.