Late last month, the sleepy Long Island hamlet of Calverton was shaken by a most audacious crime: At some point during the wee hours between Sept. 27 and 30, a pack of brazen thieves descended on Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm and made off with 600 pumpkins valued at about $4,200.

To date, no possible suspects have been questioned in connection with the crime (looks like you’re off the hook, Robin Shreeves) and the squash stealers remain at large. Lolly Rottkamp, who co-owns the family-run farm with her son, believes the culprits were locals with an intimate knowledge of her property as the 36-acre pumpkin field is hidden away and not visible from the road. In other words, this wasn’t some sort of spontaneous act of pumpkin pilfering but a premeditated act carried about by persons who had cased Fox Hollow Farm before carrying out crime. Also, a person with a very large truck.

“Somebody’s on a rampage,” says a devestated Rottkamp, noting that other farm stands in this bucolic stretch of eastern Long Island have experienced an uptick in pumpkin-related theft this Halloween season. This crime, also on Long Island, appears to be unrelated, however.

Detective Timothy Hubbard of the Riverhead Police Department is very much on the same page and believes that the culprit is another local farmer as “this is too large a bundle for personal use.” He explains: “Most of the farmers out here are hardworking and honest, but someone who has a need to sell pumpkins is looking to make some money.”

Hubbard's suspicions make total sense — those Long Island agrarian types can be a ruthless bunch — but I’m also thinking Hubbard should expand his horizons just a bit as he might be surprised as to whom exactly would sneak into a farm during the middle of the night and jack 600 large orange gourds. So please, If you reside in Suffolk County, N.Y., and your mother-in-law tries to offload 426 pumpkin pies on you and asks you to "destroy the evidence, your best friend keeps complaining about a backache resulting from “lifting a crap ton of squash,” or you see this guy prowling around your cul-de-sac, do the right thing and call the Riverhead police.

Lastly, if you happen to be passing through this particular stretch of Long Island be sure to stop on by the Fox Hollow Farm Stand and pick up a little something (and pay for it) — I'm guessing that the hard-working Rottkamp clan would surely appreciate the business.

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