Sheriff's deputies are searching for a thief or thieves who stole a 150 pound watermelon worth $1,500 from a Maryland farmer.
Harford County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Hopkins says the watermelon was taken sometime between Thursday night and early Friday morning from a farm about 15 miles north of Bel Air.
The watermelon's owner, Brad Northcote, says the watermelon was the largest he had ever grown, and he was shocked it had been taken.
"I was pretty dumbfounded to see it gone. I mean, who's going to steal a piece of fruit? It's kind of ridiculous,'' Northcote said.
Northcote says he was "amazed at the effort someone went to in order to steal a watermelon,'' and that the size of it would make it difficult to take.
"You really need a strategy for a theft like this; not just because of the size, but it was located on the most inaccessible part of the property,'' he said.
Northcote says he grows Carolina cross watermelons to enter in fairs and other contests in the area but he decided not to enter this watermelon in the Maryland State Fair this year because he "wanted to see how large it could get.''
He says he and his wife were considering harvesting the watermelon seeds to send to Kenya to establish a watermelon farm there. Northcote owns and operates Jingo Safaris and Tours. The company does business in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania among other counties.
The Harford County Sheriff's Office says they have no leads and no suspects.
According to Guinness World Records online, an Arkansas man whose watermelon weighed in at about 270 pounds in 2005 holds the title of the grower of the heaviest watermelon.