OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Roughly 4,000 pounds of peaches were reportedly stolen from an orchard owned by Clemson University last week.
On Tuesday, August 22, a deputy with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office responded to Musser Fruit Research Farm, owned by Clemson University, for a report of stolen peaches.
On arrival, the deputy met with employees at the farm who alleged someone broke in overnight and stole roughly $3,000 – $5,000 worth of peaches, or about 4,000 pounds of fruit.
In addition to the monetary value lost in the theft, employees told law enforcement the theft also robbed researchers a years’ worth of research as such a large theft would skew their data so significantly it could not be used in research.
Two men, Donald Andrew New, and Scottie Phil Randall Ledford, have since been arrested in relation to the theft.
Before the theft the two men reportedly were living at a campground near the orchard, and are accused of cutting a lock off a gate to access the farm and steal the fruit.
They each face multiple counts of grand larceny and destroying farm products and research equipment.
The theft is still under investigation.