Snatching mangoes from trees without asking could get you arrested

Cape Coral homeowners are upset after thieves keep picking mangoes off their trees.

Debbie Willert just moved into her northwest Cape Coral home at the end of May, “They were just hanging, and hanging, and hanging. I mean so beautiful.”

After watching them ripen, she says she was looking forward to picking her first mangoes off the tree in her backyard, “We were just excited to try new recipes, fish, salsa, stuff like that.”

But Willert says someone snatched all her fruit in the middle of the night earlier this week, “I just can’t believe that someone would come take every single one off the tree, even the ones that were on the ground.”

“A little violated and it’s a little scary that someone was in our yard,” Willert said. She’s now planning to build a fence around her home to keep the fruit thieves out.

Other people we talked to in Cape Coral say this mango mischief has been going on for years.

Dave Parks, is familiar with the scheme, “Well people come when I’m not home, although they have been brazen and come when you are home.”

Parks put up signs and installed cameras to try to keep people away from the mango tree in his front yard, “I think the people that think they can help themselves have to understand that you’re trespassing and you’re stealing.’

He says he gets more than a thousand mangoes each year from his tree.He picks them up each night and leaves them for people to take.

“They’re free to anyone who asks me,” Parks said.

Willert says she hopes people do the same to her in the future, “Next time please just come and knock. We’d be glad to share.”

Cape Coral Police and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office say you can report if fruit is stolen from your tree and the suspects would face theft charges.