by ARIEL McRAE | Associate Editor
The 85th Annual West Tennessee Strawberry festival is right around the corner with only 19 days separating Humboldt from its beloved festival. This should be a time of anticipation and celebration; instead one couple is in a time of mourning as their prized strawberry lawn decorations were stolen from their yard.
Karen and Don Mackenzie, like most Humboldtans, love the Strawberry City and the yearly festival. Living on Main Street affords them a front row seat to all the fun during the much awaited May event. Unfortunately, it also seems that it has made them a target of a cruel prank.
“The big [stolen strawberry] was six or seven feet tall and weighed about 80 pounds. It had to be at least two or three people in order for them to lift it out of where it was [in the yard],” explained Mrs. Mackenzie of her missing ‘berry.
Mackenzie bought her beloved metal strawberries from the brother of her neighbor, Nikki Hopper about three years ago. All the berries bought combined cost a grand total of nearly $550. Last year, Hopper herself was also a victim of thieving of the strawberries in her yard. This year the thieves also stole a large angel from Hopper during their Main Street crime spree. It is undetermined why thieves are targeting houses on this street.
Mackenzie and her husband have a ring camera attached to the front of their house, but it did not capture the perpetrators stealing because of a large column obstructing the view. She also mentioned that the ring camera was not programmed to have enough range to see the other parts of the unobstructed yard. She made sure to note that her security system is updated and will capture any unwanted activity in the future.
“I think it was just a prank,[someone] up to no good. I really think it was teenagers,” Mackenzie stated her suspicions. “I just cannot seriously believe they took it. When I got up the next morning [on Sunday], I got to looking outside and realized then screamed, ‘Don, our strawberries are missing!’”
According to Mr. Mackenzie, the police were called when the berries were discovered to have been missing the morning after the robbery. Then, the following Monday around 7:45 a.m. another neighbor of the Mackenzies stopped by their house to inform them that one of their berries was in a yard about five or so houses down from their house, along with multiple other berries from various yards around Humboldt.
Once again the Humboldt Police Department came out, this time to retrieve the stolen berry and return it to the Mackenzies. The owners of the house were confused as to how all those berries ended up adorning their front lawn. They appeared in their yard overnight.
Humboldt Police Department Assistant Chief Dan Ables said all the items in question that were missing had been “located and returned.”
Except, much to the dismay of the Mackenzies, the location of their large display strawberry is still in the wind. Once, the berry had a prime spot in the front of their home surrounded by yard lights to illuminate the metal berry at night and to shine a bright light on their love of this town. Now, in its place, Mackenzie has planted a tree to fill the space the berry left in their ground and in their hearts.
If anyone in Humboldt sees an extra large metal berry, please alert the Humboldt Police Department so it can be restored to its rightful place and owners, hopefully in time for the Strawberry Festival because being without their berry during the festival will be un‘berry’able.