Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story was published in Thursday’s edition and included incorrect information.
Roughly $11,000 worth of empty beehives were dumped on Frogner Road in Adna on Monday after an unidentified subject stole a pickup belonging to the owner of Hive 5 Bees in Rochester earlier that day.
The reporting party, Kevin Mills, who co-owns both Hive 5 Bees and All Star Rent a Fence, told law enforcement he had parked a Rent a Fence pickup with an attached trailer and tractor at a diner in the 10100 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Rochester shortly after midnight on Aug. 1 but returned at about 4:30 a.m. to find it was missing, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
A total of 360 inactive box beehives — meaning no bees were inside — were in the bed of the pickup at the time it was stolen, according to Mills.
Mills later found the hives were found broken and scattered.
Hive 5 Bees was able to recover 40 to 50 of the 360 box hives, but most of them were either destroyed when they were dumped or were stolen before Mills and his colleagues could collect them from the side of the road.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office recovered the tractor and trailer that were attached to the pickup in a parking lot on Monday, according to Mills. Law enforcement recovered the pickup several days later in Gresham, Oregon.
While thefts of beehives and beekeeping equipment, which carry a high retail value, aren’t uncommon; Mills said he found this particular theft baffling.
“It’s just so weird because some of the things that thieves would usually be after for value are the things that were left,” said Mills.
Law enforcement have yet to identify a suspect in the case.
Mills estimated the actual cost of replacing the hives was around $19,000, in addition to costs associated with repairing damaged equipment and recovering from nearly a week of lost business.
At least no bees were harmed in the commission of the crime.
“They were not active hives, so there were no bees in them,” said Mills.