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Half million bees killed in Iowa from juvenile vandalism; two boys charged

/ 02:16 PM January 22, 2018

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It was sweet justice for a couple in Iowa as the suspects for killing their half million bees, which put their honey business in jeopardy, will be facing charges.

The suspects were juveniles, boys aged 12 and 13, who ransacked through the property of Justin and Tori Engelhardt on Dec. 28, as reported by local media Sioux City JournalThe Engelhardts own Wild Hill Honey,  a known honey business.

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Despite being underage, the boys will face several charges such as criminal mischief, aggravated misdemeanor, agricultural animal facilities offenses, possession of burglary tools and burglary. Police handed down the charges on Wednesday. 

“They knocked over every single hive, killing all the bees. They wiped us out completely,” Engelhardt said in the report. He added that nothing was stolen from the property, but “everything was vandalized and destroyed.” 

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The cost in damages ranged from $50,000 to $60,000 (around P2.5 million to P3 million). Because of what happened, Engelhardt said the incident “probably sunk us.”

But a friend of the Engelhardts started a GoFundMe page to cover the damages done. The campaign has raked up $30,000 (around P1.5 million) from contributors. The page has now been deleted.

For Woodbury County assistant attorney Mark Campbell, such cases of agricultural animal facilities offenses are rare. He said he does not remember encountering such cases in the 34 years he has worked in the office.

“I can’t think of any case where we’ve had prosecution in Woodbury County — I may be wrong, but I don’t recall anything,” Campbell admitted. 

The boys may be fined $10,000 (around P509,000) and may face up to 10 years in jail. Being minors, though, their case might be decided in juvenile court. Katrina Hallare/JB

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TAGS: bees, burglary, juvenile court, minors, vandalism
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