In what appears to have been a well-thought-out heist, thieves broke into Hewitts Farms at 3 a.m. today and, within a matter of minutes, escaped with the operation’s safe filled with cash.
“The OPP officer who responded was here, he said, about seven minutes after the alarm began to sound,” said Trevor Hewitt, one of three brothers operating the family farm started by Ron and Linda Hewitt four decades ago. “When he got here, the thieves were already gone. We suspect they heard the alarm, which is pretty loud, and got out as quickly as they could.”
Hewitt said the safe had a “decent amount of cash” inside. He estimates the safe, which is fireproof and opened by a digital keypad, weighed upwards of 65 pounds and was about two-feet wide by two-feet high.
“It’s not something you’re just going to run off with,” said Hewitt. “It was pretty well planned out, it would seem.”
On top of that, few people would know there’s a safe enclosed in a cupboard in the office located beside the barn at the rear of the facility. A filing cabinet beside the safe was also broken into. It contained only paperwork.
“Only my brothers and I have the combination to the safe … most of our staff wouldn’t even know it’s there,” said Hewitt.
He said the family was shocked and saddened by the theft, which occurred between 2:50 and 3:00 a.m. The Hewitts are offering “a cash reward for anyone that helps us find those who were involved.”
Hewitt noted break-ins and crime, generally, are rare in Severn Township; Hewitts is located on Town Line in a predominantly rural area.
“People are getting braver,” Hewitt told OrilliaMatters. “It’s not something you would expect here.”
In the wake of the unsettling theft, Hewitt said he and his brothers would be “rethinking everything” related to safety. He said they will consider installing surveillance cameras. “I think we have to look into it, for sure.”
He said such a crime is “very difficult” for a small business to withstand. “We are already battling the minimum wage hike and the drought … it’s one thing after another. It sure makes you think about having a nine-to-five job.”
The Hewitts have shared information about the theft on their Facebook page in the hopes that someone saw something or has information about the heist. A few years ago, someone stole a golf cart from the farm and it was recovered, abandoned in a field, after they shared information about that theft.
“I half expect to find the safe, but I expect it will be busted open and broken,” he said. “The money’s probably long gone.”
If you have information, you are asked to contact the Orillia OPP at 705-326-3536 or 1-888-310-1122 or you can visit Crime Stoppers at: www.crimestopperssdm.com or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).