“While I was milking the cows in the stable, a thief stole 2,000 francs.”
Brazen thieves anger the farmers of St. Gallen. 20 minutes I spoke to those affected.
Farmer Zeno Stadler is upset: “Unidentified people keep stealing from our farm.”
At his home in Bronschhofen SG, thieves once sneaked into his kitchen during the day while he was working. “We now close all entrances to the house, even when we are present and working,” says Zeno Stadler.
The Henders, another farming family from Bronshofen SG, were also affected: “While I was milking the cows in the stable, a thief crept into our house and stole 2,000 francs in cash,” says farmer Brunhilde.
According to Hanspeter Kroesi, press spokesman for the cantonal St. Gallen police, there has been a huge increase in sneak thefts compared to previous years: “It cannot be said whether these crimes were committed specifically on farms.”
“The Swiss Farmers Association is noticing that more goods are being stolen from agricultural stores on farms,” says media spokesperson Sandra Helfenstein.
Several farmers from canton St. Gallen reported that they had been robbed.
What is especially bad for those affected is that while they were working, strangers stole from them.
Some have now taken action.
Zeno Stadler, a farmer from Bronshofen Saint-Germain, is upset: “Unknown people keep stealing from our farm.” It started two years ago when his wife’s e-bike, worth 2,500 francs, was stolen from the garage. In September this year, small thefts at night occurred repeatedly: “One time it was my wallet, other times it was eggs and cheese from our farm shop,” says the 56-year-old.
It was particularly shocking for Stadler: “One day, thieves sneaked into our kitchen during the day while my wife and I were working. Fortunately, I noticed the intruders and was then able to drive them away.” Stadler has now taken the first measures. “We are now blocking all entrances to the house.” “Even when we are present and working.”
The Ruckstuhl farming family from Rossrüti SG is now doing the same. “800 francs in cash were stolen from our house while we were making hay,” says farmer Sonia. Basically, it is unusual on the farm for people to block entrances to the house while working on the farm. “Like most farms, we have several entrances. So closing it is very difficult,” says the 46-year-old. However, they do not want to be robbed again: “It was very bad for us. “It’s unbelievable that people would steal from you while you’re working on the farm.”
“He sneaked into our house while we were milking.”
Farmer Brunhilde Hinder from Bronshofen SG was also affected: “While I was milking the cows in the stable, a thief crept into our house and stole 2,000 francs in cash.” Her son was in his room during this time and did not notice anything. The Henders family have now also taken action: “We have installed a camera since the incident happened.”
The shock remains profound because others have also been affected, and it does not appear to be an isolated case: “I have learned of dozens of other farms in the surrounding area that have had similar experiences,” Hinder says.
As the cantonal police of St. Gallen said at their request, there has been a huge increase in sneak thefts compared to previous years. However, it cannot be said whether these crimes were committed specifically on farms. Figures kept officially relate to all sneak thefts in the area and are not recorded separately.
The difference between sneak robbery and burglary
According to Isabelle Wuterich, spokeswoman for the Bern cantonal police, a burglary occurs when the perpetrator gains access to the building by force, for example by breaking down a door or breaking a window. If the doors or windows are open and the thief can access and take valuables without using force, this is a case of sneak theft. “In the current year, compared to 2022, we notice an increasing trend in sneak thefts and farm robberies in the canton of Bern,” says Wuterich.
The Swiss Farmers Association is not aware of an increase in sneak thefts. However, a more recent and growing phenomenon is the increasing theft of goods from farm shops on farms. He also notes that when thefts occur on farms, these thefts are often small equipment such as chainsaws. The reason: “These items are often not stored in an enclosed space and are therefore not well secured or not secured at all.”
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