Thieves have been stealing citrus fruit from Sunnyside Groves, and no security measure taken by the company has been able to stop them yet!
Queen Creek, Arizona – Sunnyside Groves, LLC. had a security problem, and it was getting worse. Their product – oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits – was vanishing off the tree, leaving the company with a significant cut in profits over the last two fiscal years. As margins fell, owner Michael Clementine worried the company might go bankrupt. Yet he remained at a loss to stop these brazen thieves.
“They drive right up, not even bothering to sneak in,” he claimed in an interview last summer. “Some cars had as many as three or four people in them, and they’d each take an orange or two.”
“Some even grabbed grapefruit!”
As scandalous as it might sound, many people believe access to a commodity makes it fair game. In the case of Sunnyside, dozens of visitors would pick fruit over the course of any given evening, after the workers went home for the night, many pulling right into the grove’s driveway to get close to choice trees.
“We tried multiple deterrents,” Clementine stated, “most notably a sign campaign. Signs asking people nicely not to take our fruit were placed around the perimeter of the grove.”
And the result?
“Utter failure. The signs were ignored and, in some cases, even ripped from the ground and left laying there to be found the next morning.”
It would take until the summer picking season arrived this year before the company would come up with a better idea, one virtually guaranteed to bring an end to the thefts.
“One of my guys, Manny, suggested we get a security gate,” said Clementine. And so Sunnyside Groves did exactly that. The security gate, complete with reflective paint on the bar, was placed halfway through the grove along the main driveway in hopes would-be thieves would reconsider.
Unfortunately, the company’s woes continue to compound. The grove, which lacks any kind of fence or wall around its borders, seems to be losing product at an even more rapid pace, as if the citrus burglars are mocking the Sunnyside crew’s futile attempts. When asked why the grove had no perimeter barrier, company officers shrugged and dithered, but provided no reasonable response, preferring instead to return to the subject of the security gate.
“I don’t understand,” the company’s financial officer, Trisha Seville, was quoted as saying. “We have a security gate. Why won’t these criminals respect our attempts to put an end to their nefarious activities?”
Experts in citrusecurity have been called in to assess the problem, but so far there are no solid answers.