The first incident was reported in May, when unknown suspects removed two pallets, containing 12 hives from a remote property in Lehigh Acres. The hives had a value of approximately $4,500.
In late June, deputies received another report of 100 wooden bee boxes stolen from a Cape Coral property. The victim said the fence protecting the area where the hives were being kept had been cut, allowing the suspects access to remove the boxes.
Then, on July 7, Wonderful Bees, a national company with hives in both Lee and Charlotte Counties, reported that all of their boxes from a location in Alva had been taken. In total, 192 beehives were removed from the site, valued at more than $41,000.
The most recent theft occurred last week, when another Wonderful Bees location was targeted in south Lee County. During this theft, 180 double boxes of beehives were stolen, leaving a total loss of $42,000.
In order to remove the beehive pallets, the suspects would have required heavy machinery to remove the boxes. Detectives believe the same suspects are responsible for all four incidents.
Wonderful Bees, the victim in two of the four thefts, is now offering a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the thefts. Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone with information on the identities and whereabouts of the suspects responsible is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers and up to $10,000 from Wonderful Bees. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.