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Thieves Pull Off Remarkable Vineyard Heist

A vineyard in southern Germany loses all its grapes
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2018 3:40 PM CDT
A hiker makes his way through the vineyards near Fellbach, southern Germany, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/dpa, Sebastian Kahnert)

(Newser) – Brazen thieves have swept into southern Germany and stolen 3,527 pounds of grapes—leaving an entire vineyard stripped bare, Newsweek reports. A police report issued Monday says the perpetrators used a professional harvesting machine to gather up $9,200 of grapes used to make Riesling wine. Amazingly, the vineyard in Rhineland-Palatinate sits beside a supermarket parking lot, but authorities say no one raised an eyebrow. "No one is surprised when a harvester drives through the vineyards in the fall," says a police source.

It's nothing new, either: Between 1,300 and 1,700 pounds of grapes were stolen in the surrounding Bad Duerkheim district last year, per the BBC, and a Virginia vineyard allegedly had two and a half tons of grapes worth $50,000 stolen last fall. "I can handle losing a crop to Mother Nature, but to come in and take my crop in the middle of the night and steal what we’ve worked for eight months, that's disheartening," the vineyard owner tells the Washington Post. In Germany, vintners have blamed vineyard thefts on rivals: "The motive is jealousy," vineyard owner Stephan Altmann told Die Welt two years ago. (Read more vineyard stories.)

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