$11K reward offered for information on bee thefts

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- A reward is being offered to track down the thieves who’ve stolen more than $100,000 in bee hive boxes over the last four months, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers said.

The first incident was reported in May, when two pallets containing 12 hives, with an approximate value of $4,500, were taken from a remote property in Lehigh Acres.

In late June, deputies received another report of 100 wooden bee boxes stolen from a Cape Coral property. A fence protecting the area where the hives were kept was cut, allowing the suspects to remove the boxes, officials said.

On July 7, Wonderful Bees, a national company with hives in both Lee and Charlotte Counties, reported that all of their boxes from a location in Alva had been taken. In total, 192 beehives were removed from the site, valued at more than $41,000.

The most recent theft took place last week, when another Wonderful Bees location was targeted in south Lee County. During this theft, 180 double boxes of beehives were stolen, valued at $42,000.

In order to remove the beehive pallets, the suspects would have required heavy machinery to remove the boxes, authorities said. Detectives believe the same suspects are responsible for all four incidents.

Wonderful Bees is now offering a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the thefts, while Crime Stoppers is also $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.

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