Police in East Hempfield have a potato puzzle on their hands.
Who dumped a truckload of tainted tubers on the grounds of two businesses off Centerville Road?
The spud dumping took more than three hours on a Saturday afternoon, said Darrel Burns, who owns Gerhart Coffee Co.
His company's surveillance camera recorded some of what happened July 13.
"I know it's an industrial area, but in the middle of the day? Wouldn't you be worried someone would roll up on you?" he asked.
The taters were tossed behind Arbon Equipment Corp., 223 Wohlsen Way, and That Fish Place, 237 Centerville Road.
Burns' camera captured a tractor trailer heading down Wohlsen Way. The truck stopped and two men got out.
His camera didn't capture the actual dumping, but he said the truck parked at Arbon Equipment around 2:30 p.m. and the men left around 6 p.m. The truck didn't have markings indicating ownership that he could see.
When he came to work the following Monday, the smell was putrid, he said, estimating he could smell it hundreds of feet away.
"I don't even know how to describe it," he said. "Gross."
He turned the footage over to East Hempfield Township police.
Burns said he talked to friend at Kegel's Produce, which is located nearby, and was told that a truck showed up unannounced that Saturday offering potatoes for sale. A message left at Kegel's wasn't returned Thursday.
Lt. Tammy Marsh said police are investigating and whoever is responsible faces illegal dumping charges.
Don Anderson, who owns the property Arbon Equipment is located, said he had to hire a company to bring in a skid loader to scoop up the potatoes and put down topsoil.
He figures the bill could be well over $1,000, if not $2,000.
"I'm not happy. We have a nice stream (Brubaker Run) that runs along the back," he said. "That's polluting a stream."
Alicia McClune, vice president of operations at That Fish Place, said the terrible smell led staff to a huge pile dumped on its property.
Potatoes were piled under an evergreen tree and some branches were cut to try to cover them, she said.
"I called around to many companies and no one wanted to take care of it," she said. Finally, they rented a dumpster and arranged to have the potatoes taken to the county landfill.