Thieves raid Gardnerville tree lot |

Thieves raid Gardnerville tree lot

by Caryn Haller
Charlie Torres, manager of the Ferguson Farms tree lot stands at the spot where more than 50 trees were stolen on Sunday night.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

A Gardnerville Christmas tree lot was visited by the Grinch late Sunday night when $5,000 worth of trees were stolen from it.

Owned by Ken Ferguson of Oregon, the lot is managed by Charlie Torres who was sleeping in his trailer 30 feet away from where the theft occurred.

“I didn’t hear a thing. I sleep with a heater on, and the trailer is a little more sound proof than most,” Torres said. “I plan on this lot being my lot next year. This theft means a loss for Ken and for me for my management pay.”

According to the Douglas County sheriff’s report the wire fence surrounding the lot was cut from the stakes to which it was secured, and there were truck tire marks in the snow backing up to the fence. Sneaker tracks were in the snow. Deputies searched nearby businesses for any surveillance video showing the perpetrator, but were unsuccessful.

Torres believes someone from out of town stole the trees to resell

“I was amazed. This community is so honest. I never assumed anything like this would happen here,” he said. “I let customers leave with their trees and come back to pay me. It makes me sad people would steal Christmas trees.”

Torres asked the community to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office if they see anyone selling trees out of the back of a truck.

Ferguson said this isn’t the first time he’s had problems with his tree lots, and he doesn’t have insurance to cover his losses.

In the last six years he’s had trees and generators stolen, and last year someone vandalized his main lot in Reno.

“You keep messing with me, you get the horn of the bull,” Ferguson said. “I’m going to start giving away trees. Since whoever is doing this damage to me is in the business of selling tress, too, I’m going to retaliate by hitting them in their pocket book. The public is going to be the winner.”