Bee-keeper stung thousands in hive heist
WHEN thieves took 50 bee hives from Ken Fechner's property, they were also stealing half of his livelihood.
In the space of two weeks, unknown persons stole the man-made hives from a private property on River Heads Rd.
The value of the hives is estimated at $10,000.
The bee-keeper, who also works as a driller, was on shift in Central Queensland for two weeks earlier this month.
It was during this period he believed the hives were stolen.
When he returned to Hervey Bay he drove to the hive's location to discover them gone.
"I was absolutely shocked," Mr Fechner told the Chronicle.
"I had it in two rows and it's about $10,000 worth stolen.
"It's more than just a hobby, it's my livelihood."
Mr Fechner said he spends six months of the year dedicated to keeping bees and selling their honey and has been doing so for about 28 years.
In the past two years he has invested at least $100,000 into his business which involves shipping bulk honey to a company on the Sunshine Coast.
As the hives were not visible from the road and were located on a private property, Mr Fencher felt there was something far more sinister in the works.
"I think it was someone experienced to take that many," he said.
"I'd say it'd be a larger operator using them probably for themselves."
News of the the theft spread quickly as friends and family shared a post on Facebook in a bid to find the culprits.
Since the post was shared, a number of people who have experienced similar situations came forward to the frustrated local of 30 years.
Having struggled through a number of recent "bad seasons", Mr Fechner planned to expand his hives in time for the next season but can no longer do so.
Senior Constable Mel Ryan said the report of the missing bee hives was received on Thursday, May 17.
She said the matter was being investigated and police were making inquiries.
The theft was not the first of its kind on the Fraser Coast as a similar situation unfolded in Urangan in February.
Snr Const Ryan said a natural bee hive was stolen from a property on Elizabeth St sometime between February 1-2.
Since the incident, Mr Fechner has installed security cameras at the location and plans to buy more hives to continue his business.
Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.