Reward offered in search for person who cut down prized trees
MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 - Orchard owner Okie Lopresti says a vandal cut down three of his prized longan fruit trees last month.
He says detectives with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office came out to investigate, but they found no evidence and no witnesses, leaving the owner without any answers.
"I was horrified to see that not one, but three trees had been cut," he says. "I have customers that come all the way from Orlando and Kissimmee, specifically, with three generations of their family to pick this fruit."
Lopresti is determined to find the answers. So he just posted a $5,000 reward on two large signs in full view of traffic on South Tropical Trail in Merritt Island. He put the same message on a website he purchased called orchardthief.Com. And he's even doing his own crime scene investigation.
"You could tell the person was right handed, because there was a foot print over here and over here, and so they stood like this," Lopresti explains. "I want to know who did it and why?"
Lopresti now has surveillance cameras installed, which would not be unusual for his wealthy neighbors, but seems unlikely in a fruit orchard.