How a Barberton Farmer Caught Macadamia Thieves Red-Handed

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How one Barberton farmer stalked a gang of nut thieves over three months until he caught them red-handed and made an arrest for theft – with cunning and a shotgun.

To protect his identity we will call this hero farmer “Tom” and refer to the arrested thief as “Jerry”. Tom farms a hundred plus hectares of macs in the Barberton valley, and despite all the usual security measures, he fell victim to the usual low-grade continuous, exasperating thievery that plagues so many farmers in the Lowveld. After all the hard work, care and expense of nurturing his orchards for a year, a well-organised gang of low-life, opportunistic thieves worked out his routines and started stealing bags of carefully dehusked, cured macadamia nuts-in-shell.

But this was no ordinary farmer… having served his country in one of the elite Para-Bat regiments, Tom was well versed in the art of tracking and had the patience of, well, a cat. Putting his well-honed skills to use, he spent three months carefully examining the spoor left by Jerry, installing secret cameras with night-vision technology in key locations and made sure not to disturb found bags of nuts that Jerry had hidden in the long grass around the borders of the farm. There was a lot of ground to cover by himself, so he had to strategise wisely. first he needed to know what Jerry’s pattern was, when he/they chose their moments to steal from him and how many there were. It turned out there were six of them and that they’d wait until a Sunday morning when Tom would go on one of his long mountain-bike rides. Then they would go in and steal the nuts and drop them at key locations on the farm’s borders for collection at night. Once Tom picked the six of them up with his secretly installed night-vision cameras and patiently learned their routine over several weeks, he devised his plan to track them while they stole on the Sunday morning and resolved to corner at least one who, he hoped, would give up the rest of the gang. And so it was, one Sunday morning that he confronted three of them point blank with the barrels of his shotgun: the first two dropped their bags and ran for their lives… he fired a warning shot into the air and shouted and the third to hit the deck or else, and there he handcuffed the thief with cable ties and called in assistance from Hi-Tech Security. A job well done, a gang disrupted, and nobody was killed.

Now the perp is in the hands of the law awaiting justice and he has already given up his friends and who he was stealing for. Unlike the carton, this time Tom actually caught Jerry.