In time, and as scheduled, the trees had nice round peaches on them but they were still green. We figured it would be a shame to pick them in their unripe stage so my wife and I decided to give them a couple of weeks more so they would take on a nice rosy yellow colour. Two weeks later and full of enthusiasm on arrival at the farm, we discovered that all the peaches had been stolen.
That was the last straw. Very discouraged, we sold the property fast and at a loss. Today, twenty years later, it's not a farm anymore but a beautiful piece of real estate with nice houses which belong to others-not us. And the land there is now worth ten times more than when we sold it twenty five years ago. But we're not sorry. We bought some place else which has not yet been targeted by thieves.
We've been robbed on other occasions too. A year ago I brought from a sod-growing business near the International Airport at Alajuela several meters of Bermuda grass cut into meter-size squares for planting in my front garden in San José. One night a month later, someone with a shovel stole the grass. I've heard of elm and oak trees being stolen in Vermont for their valuable wood. But who would believe anyone would steal grass? Small plants are also frequently stolen rather than flowers which are not too much in demand by thieves.
On another occasion two of my wife's talking parrots were stolen by a man who the day before had mowed our backyard lawn. We searched in pet shops in San José and were able to find and get them back at the discouragement of the store owner who was ready to sell them at a very high price. Don't be too trustworthy with some hired help. Don't give thieves the opportunity to act. You don't have to become a policeman. I know you can't go through life suspecting everyone, but it's a good idea to keep alert and your eyes open. You'll live a happier and more tranquil life in Costa Rica if you do.
Petty thefts have existed forever practically every place where the human being has existed and Costa Rica has certainly not been an exception. In the 1970s, a beautiful black swan that graced the lawns of Morazán Park in the centre of San José, was robbed by a prankster who days later when caught by police simply said: "I just wanted to know what swan soup would taste like". In June 2001, also in Morazán Park, the Simon Bolivar statue was visited for a second time within two years by someone who liked the gleaming bronze sword in Liberator's hand and ran off with it.