Vandals can't seem to keep out of Schnepf Farms

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 20:37:21-05

Several recent acts of vandalism and theft at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek has the owners considering fencing off their entire 300-acre property.

Schnepf Farms, a popular family attraction, welcomes hundreds of families year round.

But apparently, also thieves. Just a couple days ago, someone ripped six peach trees out of the ground, two days after they had been planted. 

'It's really frustrating when you're working so hard to get your new orchard planted, and get it going and to have someone come along and do that sort of thing," said Mark Schnepf, co-owner of Schnepf Farms.

That's not the only recent trouble at the farms.

"Someone thought it would be funny to throw smoke bombs in the middle of the group. And that's just not appropriate," Schnepf said.

They've also had to look out for people who sneak onto the property and trim their peach blossom branches to take home.

"It's not just a matter of pulling a few branches, or damaging some property. They're actually affecting the overall operation of the farm," Schnepf said. 

A fence is now likely around their entire properties.

"That's a huge expense for us, but it's also not really something we want to do because it also puts that barrier between the public and what we're doing here," Schnepf said. 

"I hope they won't do that," said Maria Lucernas, who visited the farm just last week.

Schnepf Farms recently posted to Facebook about their frustrations. More than 300 community members expressed their disgust at the recent disrespect to the farms and their support for the family.

"Schnepf Farms is actually one of the main kind of the places here --families, we want to actually go there," Lucernas said. 

The Queen Creek farm has been open since the 1970s, and the family says they want to be able to continue to welcome in community members for years to come.