Collection box stolen from sunflower U-pick

A small Island farm was the victim of theft this week, when a birdhouse the family used to accept donations in exchange for U-pick sunflowers was stolen from the property.

Owners say honour system form of payment will remain in place

The birdhouse, with a sign telling customers that proceeds from the sunflower U-pick go to two Island animal rescue charities, was stolen sometime Thursday (Submitted by Kendall Docherty)

A small Island farm was the victim of theft this week, when a birdhouse the family used to accept donations in exchange for U-pick sunflowers was stolen from the property.

Kendall Docherty said his family checks the birdhouse daily and emptied it around 11 p.m. Wednesday evening. He said it wasn't until Thursday that the family discovered their collection box was missing.  

"We had a couple customers who actually came up to the house during the day, who said they went to pay at the birdhouse but it was gone," said Docherty. "It never tipped my wife off, she thought they weren't seeing it. When I got home and told her the box was missing, we realized that somebody had actually stolen it."

Knives also stolen

Docherty can't be sure how much money, if any, was inside the collection box at the time, but he says it generally contains anywhere from $60-$80 on any given day.

Three knives, used to harvest the sunflowers, were also stolen. He said other farms in the area, who use the honour system to sell produce, have been the victims of theft, but this is the first time a thief actually removed items from a property.  

"It's a small amount and it's not a great thing," said Docherty. "It's just the thought that, you put something out there, trusting people will be honourable, and they come and take it, it's not very nice, you feel a bit violated."

Honour system remains in place

Docherty said despite the theft, he didn't hesitate to install another birdhouse — with a more hearty bolt.

He said money from the U-pick sunflowers is usually donated to two animal rescue charities on the Island. He is forgiving of whoever took the money but said he'd appreciate having the knives returned.  

"We're not ging to hold any grudges, obviously they needed the money in the box more than they thought we did," said Docherty.

"It's there for a charitable purpose to begin with, just return items you stole, and we can resurrect them so they can do the purpose they were intended for."

Docherty hasn't yet reported the theft to the police, but  said he probably will in case other honour system payment boxes have been targeted.