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Thieves steal supplies from school garden

POSTED April 29, 2011 6:13 p.m.

In recent month thieves have stolen over $400 worth of hand tools, bags of soil and gardening equipment from the Julien Elementary School garden.

On April 22 thieves cut locks with bolt cutters, cut a hole through a cyclone fence, tore the hinges off a locked garden shed and broke into a lock box to retrieve the equipment and soil.

Julien Garden Coordinator and second-grade teacher Janet Wheeler said the criminal(s) have devastated the garden project.

“It is just really depressing. Now the kids don’t have tools and it’s not like we have a budget for the garden. I just write grants and that funds the garden,” she said.

In the past few years Wheeler has stored most soils and equipment at a nearby nursery, but kept a few bags and tools at the garden for day to day use.

“I suspect this is someone who is re-selling the soil and tools somewhere,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler described the soil as the Gardner and Bloom brand premium soil in white and red bags. Tools missing are hand tools like clippers and shovels.

“These thefts are just devastating for our garden project. Needless to say, our budget is tiny and we keep our programs running with the occasional donations from individuals, business and grant monies,” said Wheeler.

A report has been filed with the Turlock Police Department and officers will keep an eye on the area during patrol.

The garden project at Julien has been around for more than a decade and has provided hundreds of students the opportunity to learn about gardening, horticulture and plant science.

“We love our space and want to keep it a safe and viable learning tool for our students. I hope neighbors or somebody saw something,” said Wheeler.

To contact the Turlock Police Department with information call 668-5550.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail jmccorkell@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext 2015.

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