When Peninsula Nursery owner George Peterson and his landscape crew went to look for their hand tools on the morning of Sept. 19, it appeared they had gone missing — along with about $7,000 worth of equipment.
Not only were the tools and equipment missing from Peninsula Nursery, but the office had been ransacked and all five of the greenhouses and the old milk shed on the property were broken into, Peterson said.
“It became very apparent very quickly we had been burglarized,” Peterson said.
Peterson took ownership of Peninsula Nursery — previously known as Peninsula Nurseries — at 1060 Sequim-Dungeness Way in March and has been working 16 hour days seven days a week to beautify the property on top of his full-service landscaping business.
Warren Ball, Peninsula Nursery production manager and landscaper said he and the crew showed up to get ready for the day when he noticed the tools were not in the location where they should have been.
“They took all the hand tools,” Ball said. “Most people don’t steal hand tools.”
He said once they realized the power tools were missing so was the power equipment.
Peterson said they don’t know the extent of the plant loss, but several other things went missing from the property including wheelbarrows, growing equipment, growing lights, a pressure washer and even Perlite.
He believes the thiefs gathered all of the items stolen on the north side of the nursery next to Sequim-Dungeness Way. There was a trail of white Perlite leading from the north side of the property to the road with some plants left behind.
Peterson said he thinks he was on the property when the nursery was burglarized. He called Sequim Police Department the morning of Sept. 19.
“I’ve got every dime I have into this thing” Peterson said.
“We don’t necessarily have it in the budget to replace all the equipment, but it is what it is.”
He said while the nursery will recover from the loss, his insurance does not cover the items stolen and it will set him back several months in working to beautify the property.
“This nursery was neglected for many, many years; it costs a lot of money to renovate the property,” Peterson said.
“It really impedes our ability to do our job the way we need to do our job” Peterson said. “Every one of those tools are tools we use on a regular basis.”
Ball agreed that the loss in tools and equipment will be an inconvenience.
“Just this week alone I’ll have to drop $500 on hand tools,” Ball said.
“In the next 7-10 days, I’ll have to drop $1,500-2,000 to replace the power tools I need on next week’s job.”
Peterson said since the burglary he has installed eight cameras on the property and plans on installing more.
“It’s a little disappointing we have to do that,” Peterson said.
“It’s a nursery; having cameras on you when you’re walking around looking at plants, it’s pretty invasive to some degree but I guess that’s the world we live in.”
Peterson also said in the future he will have an insurance policy that protects his business and property.
He said the community has rallied behind the nursery since the burglary and has offered many different kinds of support but in the end he will find a way to make things work.
“Their support means the world to us,” Peterson said.
“If we can stop another burglary from taking place and somebody else from being in the situation we’re in right now, that would mean a lot to me.”
Sunny Farms theft
Sequim Police Department reported on Sept. 25 that the investigation of the Peninsula Nursery burglary is still open and pending, but it did serve two search warrants on the residence of 52-year-old Ronald Weaver of Sequim, a suspect for the nursery burglary and other theft and vehicle prowl cases in town.
Weaver is allegedly connected to another nursery burglary that occurred on Sept. 21 at the Sunny Farms Store at 261461 Highway 101 in Carlsborg.
On Sept. 22, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release stating when law enforcement arrived on scene at Sunny Farms, Weaver fled on foot from the business upon the arrival of officers. Law enforcement searched the area but was unable to find him.
The press release stated law enforcement responded to Weaver’s home and Sequim Police obtained a warrant for his residence and recovered three truckloads of suspected nursery related property from his residence.
Sequim Police said Weaver has not been arrested but they have probable cause for his arrest. Detective Sergeant Darrell Nelson said they are still trying to acquire any information regarding cases against him.
Nelson said Weaver is one of the suspects in the Peninsula Nursery burglary but he could not disclose any other suspects at the time.
If anyone has information regarding the Peninsula Nursery burglary or the whereabouts of Ronald Weaver, contact the Sequim Police Department at 683-7227 or the business line for the Sheriff’s dispatch at 417-2459.