Two Christ Church landlords are being forced to invest thousands of dollars in security after they and three tenants suffered 11 break-ins between last October and the first two days of this year.
Leroy Greene and his girlfriend Jacqueline Riley, who own a five-acre chicken farm at Gibbons Boggs, said their morale and that of their tenants, who leased pens, was low after battling an intense wave of praedial larceny for the past three months.
Greene and Riley experienced three break-ins, one each in October, November and December. One of their tenants’ pens was broken into once in December and another three times that same month. The other vocal tenant, Adrian Thorpe, suffered two break-ins in December and one each on the first and second day of January.
Leroy Greene (right) and his girlfriend Jacqueline Riley explaining the time span of the break-ins. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
In total, about five crates of eggs, seven bags of feed valued at $43 per bag, and chickens (both broilers and layers) were stolen. They were not sure how much poultry was taken, and Greene told the DAILY NATION when he contacted the police about the incidents, he was told it would be difficult to find the perpetrator(s) because of the lack of evidence.
A tour of the facility showed where the thieves cut the coops’ wiring.
“When the first break-ins occurred, we decided to import six sensor lights hoping that when the light came on, it would deter the thieves, but apparently it has only served to assist them in doing their job better,” said Greene. “Now we are looking to buy surveillance cameras to catch the thieves on tape.”
Although Greene and his girlfriend live in close proximity to the farm, they said it was taxing on their bodies to be awake in the wee hours in the morning on the lookout for thieves after working long hours. The cameras the farmers are investing in range in price from $1 200 to $1 500, excluding the price of monitors and the installation fee.
Greene said the scarcity of eggs, “hard times” and desperation could be the motives behind the theft, adding that people wanted a bountiful supply of meat on their tables for Christmas.
Thorpe suggested the thieves could have been observing them on the farm over a period and planned when best to strike.
He added he had 3 000 broilers and would only be able to determine how many were stolen when he took them to be slaughtered.
Riley said the thieves were bold as most of the criminal acts were consecutive or over a seven-day span.
Last November, the amended Protection of Agricultural Products and Livestock Bill 2017 was debated in Parliament. Minister of Agriculture David Estwick said it was designed to benefit crop and livestock farmers as well as those who traded in agricultural produce, requiring both to be registered to conduct their business. There would also be stiffer penalties for anyone who contravened the provisions of the act. (SB)