BOISE -- Church leaders say thieves struck the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise overnight Wednesday. What they stole is unusual: three fruit trees meant to be planted in the city's first urban orchard Friday.
Groundskeeper Joe Prin says thieves would have likely driven into the church parking lot on Hays Street and loaded the trees into some sort of a truck.
Each tree was 6-to-7-feet tall and sitting in a pot. The varieties taken include two Bing cherry trees and one Fantasia nectarine. Each tree was valued at $84.95.
Prin says one Bing cherry tree has a particularly special meaning.
It was picked out by a family that had their daughter killed by a drunk driver, so this was going to be a living memorial in the orchard to remind people of those dangers, Prin told KTVB.
Executive Director Jerri Walker says whoever took the trees is encouraged to return them.
Well, if the trees are returned we will just be so happy, because we can move forward with planting them, and if the people want to make themselves known, that's fine, Walker told KTVB. We're not going to press charges. We would hope that they might want to come in and find out what we're doing and find out the purpose behind it, and maybe, maybe, their heart might be changed.
Church volunteers have been working to transform the dusty quarter-acre directly north of the Cathedral of the Rockies for the past year. The site is already home to an urban teaching garden created in partnership with Boise High.
Various donors have raised money for landscaping and have scraped together enough cash to buy more than 50 trees for the accompanying orchard. Varieties include, apple, pear, plum, nectarine, and apricot. They say the idea of a community orchard is based on the Garden of Eden.
Prin says despite the recent thefts, everyone is still welcome to enjoy the orchard when complete, and that includes the yearly fruit harvest.
In the meantime, work on this unique and beautiful orchard is still underway. More than 70 volunteers are scheduled to help plant the trees Friday at 9 a.m. Work on the orchard will go through Saturday.
In a related note, The church will also host a Habitat for Humanity home framing on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. Hundreds are expected to attend.