Owner: Thieves stole tree-farm equipment, not Christmas spirit

Toogoodoo Tree Farm in Meggett will open at 1 p.m. today, despite the theft of $50,000 in equipment. , including a tractor, chain saws and a tree topper. Buy this photo

When it opens this afternoon, the Toogoodoo Tree Farm won’t be as trim as its owners had planned.

Children still can chat with “Toogie” the talking tree. Families still can skip into the fields to find the perfect Fraser fir, Carolina sapphire or Leyland cypress.

But something foul happened here. Something nasty. And it has put a damper on Christmas.

Under the veil of night a week ago, thieves crept over the property off Highway 165 in Meggett and stole a new Kubota tractor, three chainsaws, a tree topper and all the miscellaneous farm equipment they could load onto a trailer — even a farm child’s dirt bike.

For the Walters family, which runs the farm, the third theft in the past decade was by far the worst. The rotten deed constitutes a hardship for the agriculture business.

“The Grinch may have stolen our stuff,” Julie Walters said, “but not our Christmas spirit.

“The farm just won’t be as pristine as we may like.”

Walters said the loot was valued at nearly $50,000. Her family reported the crime to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators had no leads, she said, but the family is holding out hope that the bad bananas will be caught and the equipment returned.

In the meantime, Walters, her husband, brother and his wife, and their six children will manage with what they have left. The farm at 7355 Toogoodoo Road south of Hollywood opens at 1 p.m. today.

“The grass might not be mowed as nicely,” Walters said, “but the Fraser firs are beautiful this year.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

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