A farm in Mount Joy Borough suffered thousands in losses when unknown perpetrators stole or damaged dozens of hemp plants Thursday night.
Crysta and Brendan Stehman said someone took nine of the 8-to-12 foot tall plants, worth $1,000 a piece, and fully or partially damaged another 28.
"Extremely violated," Crysta Stehman said of how she felt upon noticing the theft. Many of the plants taken were close to the Stehmans' home, where they were sleeping at the time.
"It won't get you high," she said. Hemp does not contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
A police report was filed with the Susquehanna Regional Police, and the Stehmans think they might know who took them.
Earlier on Thursday they encountered three suspicious individuals on their property, who they asked to leave.
They described the three males as between 18-20 years old. Two were white with at least one having a short beard, and the third was a clean shaven African-American with short braids. They traveled in what looked like a newer, black Chevy Suburban.
The Stehmans are investing in new security and will be keeping a close eye on their crops until harvest in a few weeks. They hope their story will help other farmers be aware of the risk of theft.
"The financial loss may be great, but it's at the bottom of our list of feelings," Brendan Stehman said. "It really makes me physically ill. We have a really deep connection with these plants."