Boys Face Felony Charges After 500K Bees Killed

Police say boys destroyed 50 beehives on Iowa honey farm
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2018 3:59 PM CST
Updated Jan 21, 2018 7:06 AM CST
Stock image   (Getty Images/bo1982)

(Newser) – This should take a bit of the sting out of their loss. A few days after Christmas, Justin and Tori Englehardt discovered someone had destroyed every beehive on their Wild Hill Honey farm, the Des Moines Register reports. According to the BBC, the destruction of the 50 hives in Sioux City, Iowa, caused 500,000 bees to freeze to death. The Englehardts called the vandalism "completely senseless." On Wednesday, police arrested two boys—age 12 and 13—in connection with the crime. The boys, who were found through tips from the public, have been charged with three felonies—criminal mischief, agricultural animal facilities offenses, and burglary—as well as misdemeanor possession of burglar's tools.

The Englehardts estimated the damage to their hives at $60,000 and thought the act of vandalism would put their farm out of business, the Sioux City Journal reports. But an online fundraiser started by a friend raised more than $30,000 to allow Wild Hill Honey to start again in the spring. “It was amazing, and we are deeply grateful for all of the contributions," Justin Engelhardt says. He has a thought about why the death of their 500,000 bees struck a chord with donors: "Bees are critical and people are conscious of the fact that bees are having a hard time right now and facing some real challenges." (Read more bees stories.)

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