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Strawberry thief strikes Finnish farm in nocturnal picking heist

It is peak strawberry season in Finland and many find the sweet and juicy red fruit to be irresistible - some more so than others. A strawberry farmer in Porvoo received a call on Monday morning from a neighbour that someone had been in his field in the middle of the night, according to news site Itäväylä.

mansikoita rasioissa mansikkarasiat kypsiä mansikoita mansikka mansikat
Image: Katja Halinen / Yle

Strawberry farmer - and owner of the Illby Gård strawberry farm - Peter Boije af Gennäs says someone took about five kilos of berries from his strawberry field in Porvoo during the early morning hours of Monday.

A neighbour called him that morning to say that someone had been in his field for a long while in the dark.

It turns out it was a headlamp-wearing strawberry thief who managed to pick some five kilograms of berries before vanishing into the night.

"The strawberry patch is right next to national road 170 and [the thief] shut off his headlamp when cars drove by," Boije af Gennäs told Itäväylä. "When the cars passed, [the thief] turned on his lamp again and continued to pick for about an hour."

Didn't call cops

Boije af Gennäs didn't report the incident to police, saying that the value of the stolen strawberries doesn't amount to much.

"The witness was a little unsure about whether to contact the police or me. We agreed that they should call me - even in the middle of the night. If something like this happens again, I'll call the police," he said.

The Illby Gård website shows a price of 4.50 euros per kilogram for self-picked berries, bringing the estimated value of the stolen fruit to a total of some 22.50 euros.

Farmer surprised, not angry

Boije af Gennäs said that while he's not happy that he lost several kilograms of his berries to a thief, he's not angry either.

He even found it a bit humorous, saying he was surprised that a person would risk being caught simply to fill a box with strawberries - because his field is so centrally located, with lots of nearby houses.

"I get it if thieves steal soda or candy, but if they go out and fill a box with strawberries in the middle of a cold, damp night, I think it's a little weird, Boije af Gennäs said.

The farmer said that he's joked with his brother about putting up an electric fence around the field, but said such a solution isn't likely.

"We could possibly set up wildlife cameras in the strawberry field - but that may be a little unnecessary, too," he said.

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