High priced pecans could be next target for thieves

CLAXTON, GA (WTOC) - Money may not grow on trees, but the 2011 pecan crop may be the next best thing. Evans County UGA Extension agent Mike Dollar said prices haven't been this good in years for pecan growers, or thieves.

"With pecans selling for $3 per pound or so, if somebody's under a couple of trees for a couple of hours, they can get several hundred dollars worth," he noted. "If you have a few thousand pounds already harvested under your shed already picked up, it could get in the $10,000 or $20,000 range easily."

The Evans County sheriff's office issued an advisory for tree owners to keep an eye on their trees and their crop, whether they own a large orchard or just a few trees in their yard. Many homeowners with trees use their smaller harvest to pay for odds and ends, from property taxes to a summer vacation.

Most owners are now keeping their harvested crop locked up and out of sight until they take them to a wholesaler. They're also riding around their orchards more to look for anyone suspicious. Dollar said a rural version of a neighborhood watch isn't a bad thing either.

"If you see somebody you don't know on the property of someone you do know, call the landowner They'll appreciate it even if it's a false alarm. They'll be glad somebody's looking out for them," he explained.

Traditionally, Georgia grows 90 to 100 million pounds of pecans per year. Drought over the late summer have cut the crop yields state wide.

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