MANVEL, Texas- Police in Manvel are on the hunt for a bee-rustler. No, this isn't castle rustling, but bee rustling.
The thief stole $90,000 worth of bees from a ranch there.
Dairy farmer Randy Verhoek said he's pretty sure it's another local beekeeper that did this. Whoever did it, he says it's heart wrenching.
"I was driving westbound on I-29 between Bismarck and Fargo North Dakota when I got a text from my worker about these stolen bees," Verhoek said.
Images show the dozens of boxes that used to sit on the ranch, but the boxes disappeared one night in December.
"In total we are talking about 300 hives is what we're losing here," Verhoek said. "150 in this location, then we had another location with 150."
Manvel Police told us they're looking into the theft and currently networking with local beekeepers in Brazoria County to try and find more information to crack the case.
Verhoek still wonders why, calling them "dirty low-down rotten scoundrels. I just don't understand why they feel like they can steal from my family."
Verhoek is based in Danbury but leases this space in Manvel to keep the bees.
"This is our home base," Verhoek said. "We winter them here and our employees live here. We're just preparing these bees getting them ready to go to California."
Verhoek says the bees were supposed to be shipped to California in February to pollinate almond crops there before coming back to Texas in March.
Then they were supposed to be sent to North Dakota to produce honey; something Verhoek said is hard enough.
"To have somebody come and steal them that's like a double blow," he said, adding that he's planning on putting in GPS tracking devices to protect against theft in the future.
(© 2017 KHOU)