PARKMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Vandals hit a maple syrup farm in Parkman Township leaving behind holes in buckets and holes in the fabric of a community, 19/43 News' Rick Jackson reported.
The Smith family's Geauga County "sugarbush" is the place where they tap maple trees, but on Thursday it became a crime scene when it was invaded by gun wielding vandals. Just who shot the holes into more than 50 syrup buckets remains a mystery.
"It's normal to have one or two shot up just from kids pulling a prank, but it becomes malicious when you have so many destroyed," farm operator Darl Smith said.
The syrup house is hidden in the woods of their 100 acres, but the Smith family allows hunters and snowmobile riders free use.
Parkman is a farm town, and the Smith's farm is part of its bedrock, so the violation, symbolized by the ripped open pails stacked behind the farmhouse, cuts deep.
"I really think it is thoughtlessness, not really meaning to be nasty or mean," farm owner Agnes Smith said.
Agnes said that her children run the farm since their father died eight months ago, and all of them tap trees. They gather syrup, producing 700 gallons of pure, sweet syrup -- what Agnes called the farm's most profitable venture.
Geauga County officials are pursuing the case because of the value of the county's entire maple syrup crop.