By Jo-Anne MacKenzie email@example.com
---- — LONDONDERRY — With the apple season winding down as October comes to a close, some people still want to get their hands on fresh apples.
Police arrested five Massachusetts residents on Oct. 16 and charged them with stealing apples from one of Mack’s Apples U-pick orchards.
The apples stolen were a little less than ripe, farm manager Mike Cross said.
“They weren’t very good-looking (apples),” Cross said last week. “They were Cortland drops off the ground.”
Mack’s employees had stripped the trees in the Ash Street orchard, located near the defunct Woodmont orchard, last week, Cross said.
In fact, the orchards have been picked clean, with workers finishing up the picking last week.
Someone driving by the orchard the morning of Oct. 16, who knew it was closed, saw the women’s van parked by the gate, Lt. Kevin Cavallaro said last week. The same morning, a police officer located the women in the orchard, filling bags with apples.
Cross said the loss of apples to thieves seems to have been a little worse this year, but so was the apple crop. Thanks to poor weather conditions in the spring, this year’s crop was about half what it should be, Cross said.
He said most apple thefts occur during busy picking weekends, when people can more easily hit one of the U-pick orchards and get away undetected.
While the apple season has ended, Mack’s does still have picking open to the general public. The pumpkins did well this year and the farm is overflowing with ripe pumpkins, Cross said.
Charged in the apple theft were: Joanne Liu, 42, of Brighton; Li Zhu, 54, of Malden; Xiao Fang Guan, 54, of Quincy; Yan Fen Yang, 57, of Boston; and Zuo Zhu Xue, 41, of Quincy. The charges are misdemeanors.
All five were charged with theft and released on $1,500 personal recognizance apiece. The women are scheduled to be arraigned in 10th Circuit Court in Derry on Nov. 5.
Earlier in October, police arrested a family of four from Quincy for filling the trunk of their car with apples taken from Mack’s.