Florida mango season inspires crooks to loot neighbors’ sweet fruit

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It’s that time of the year – beware of people targeting trees in your neighborhood in search of ‘fruit loot’ to steal.

Crooks stealing something sweet puts a sour taste in Lila Stucker’s mouth. She said her tree was loaded with mangoes.

Now, one mango remains on her family’s tree.

Melissa Lombardo believes a thief jumped the fence and plucked the mangoes, denying her the first fruit.

“This is really the first time that they’ve produced enough that you can eat them,” Lombardo said. “They were big enough and ripe enough, so they were kind of special in that aspect.”

By meddling with the mangoes, the thief interfered with their plans. Lombardo and her kids were going to pick all the mangoes off their tree. She said she is disappointed.

“With kids or grandkids or any younger people, they’re looking forward to picking what they’ve seen grow,” Lombardo said. “Then, all of a sudden, it’s all gone.”

People stealing mangoes from the tree is a seasonal crime and it happens throughout Southwest Florida.

The Marco Island Police Dept. told WINK News they suggest neighbors look out for each other or put up a camera if they fear someone might steal their fruit. Anyone caught faces both trespassing and theft charges.

While the mango madness might seem silly, the family said it is a matter of principle.

“I don’t want to say violated, that’s a little strong,” Lombardo said. “But it gives you a sense of not feeling safe.”

Stucker told us if the thief just asked, she would have shared some of her mangoes. But now, mugging the mangoes raises a more significant concern.

“It’s mangoes now,” Stucker said. “What’s it going to be tomorrow?”

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