NAPLES, Fla. - A Naples woman is up in arms after she says bandits took fruit from an expensive, exotic tree in her yard. But the suspects tell WINK News, the crime doesn't match the punishment.
The little fruit has two Naples men in big trouble. They took a handful of Longan fruit from a nearby tree. Now the owner is taking them to court.
"We look at her yard, we see that everything's just rotting on her floor, so we thought, we're doing her a help, take a couple and leave," Dagoberto Palenzuela said.
The two said they tried to ask permission on multiple occassions, but no one answered the door. Police then caught them red-handed, up in the tree. The homeowner is demanding the two be punished to the fullest extent, which in the case of forbidden fruit... adds up to petty theft charges of five dollars.
"I think it's ridiculous. Completely ridiculous, like it's a big joke," said Mario Gonzalez, who's also accused of stealing the fruit.
But they say what happened next wasn't funny, saying they were left in the back of a patrol car for three hours while police took down the woman's report.
"It was uncomfortable and hot. I'm 6'5, so me being back there with a friend in the back of a cop car wasn't really that pleasant. Especially for how long we were back there," Gonzalez said.
The homeowner declined to talk on-camera, but in the police report, she says it took her 30 years of going back and forth to Asia to acquire the seeds to grow the trees. She now wants the two fruit bandits to pay the price.
"I offered her money, apologized. She wouldn't even talk to us," Palenzuela said Thursday.
The accused fruit thieves will face a Collier County judge on the charges at the end of the month.