Urban farm robbed three times in two weeks
An urban farm in Longwood is trying to get back on its feet after being burglarized three times in two weeks.
Tanya Fields says she caught the thief red-handed when he struck at the Libertad Urban Farm, located on Simpson Street, on Aug. 3.
Fields says he escaped with nearly $2,000 worth of vegetables, gardening tools and machinery.
"I literally did catch him in the act trying to jump the gate with the lawn mower," she says.
Fields says the suspect, 33-year-old Rico Valdez, hit the farm twice that day. She says she was able to corner him the second time until police showed up, arresting him and charging him with petit larceny.
But two weeks later, someone struck again and Fields believes it was Valdez.
"It's just disconcerting and heartbreaking that in three days, a lot of that work is undone and we had a major setback," she says.
In hopes of preventing a fourth burglary at the farm, Fields says she plans on putting in higher gates, security cameras and a more secure shed.