Vermont State Police are investigating the theft of a company’s entire hemp crop earlier this week from a cultivation site in Moretown.
Authorities said 50 plants were stolen. They said the theft appeared premeditated and that two or more thieves apparently used shearing tools and large vehicles to remove an estimated 500 pounds of hemp from a field on Pony Farm Road.
The plants were being cultivated by Fancy Plants, a business registered with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to legally grow hemp. The field was marked with signs that hemp/CBD was being grown.
The stolen plants were valued at approximately $6,000, according to police. The theft is believed to have occurred overnight Sunday or early Monday morning. Anyone with information is asked to call the Middlesex barracks at 802-229-9191.
Agriculture Agency officials said hemp farmers have seen thefts around fall harvest time in the past and urge farmers to install security equipment, including fencing and motion-activated lights and video surveillance cameras. They also recommend enlisting neighbors to help keep an eye out for intruders.
“Registrants whose crop land is adjacent to public rights-of-way may find it difficult to protect their crops privacy due to high public visibility, so the aforementioned protective measures are highly recommended,” according to a statement from the Agriculture Agency.
Fancy Plants owner Jenna Rossbach told WCAX she had installed a camera but that it hadn't picked up the thieves. She also said the plants were harvested too early to be of value.
The agency also said it does not give out the locations of registered hemp growers, even under requests under the Public Records Act.
Stay on top of all of Vermont's criminal justice news. Sign up here to get a weekly email with all of VTDigger's reporting on courts and crime.