MACHIAS — The owner of Guptill Farms Inc. is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who stole a truck and $100,000 in equipment from the company’s blueberry factory in Wesley, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
Sgt. Aloysius Hogan said William Guptill, the owner, discovered the theft Jan. 19, two days after he’d last been at the blueberry factory. The first thing Guptil noticed upon entering the plant was that his customized 1985 Ford F-350 truck was missing, Hogan said.
“After he got to looking around , he saw he was missing chain saws, welders, a brand new 6-foot-tall Craftsman toolbox filled with tools, and sockets, wrenches and water pumps,” Hogan said. “At this point, the estimate is $100,000 in tools and equipment.”
The estimate does not include the truck, which Guptill said was valued at $25,000. Hogan said the maroon truck has dual wheels and a dump-truck body and would be easy to recognize.
Hogan said the thieves entered the blueberry factory by a side door and used a forklift from the warehouse to load equipment onto the truck body. The sergeant said he believes the truck headed south but he does have suspects in the case.
Hogan said Guptill believes whoever is responsible had to have known what they were doing. The truck is a diesel and must run for approximately 15 minutes before it will go into first gear, Hogan said.
Guptill has only partial insurance for the equipment in the building. Employees spend the winter working on the equipment to make sure everything is ready to go in the spring when they begin working on the fields, and his tools are the “backbone of the business,” Hogan said.
Guptill has installed a security system and is distributing notices of the reward from Danforth to Bangor, the sergeant said.