A 150-pound watermelon was reported stolen Friday from the garden of a northern Harford County family known for growing prize-winning oversized watermelons.
The Harford County Sheriff's Office reported the theft on its Facebook page Saturday afternoon.
Deputies arrived at the home of the Northcote family in the 2600 block of Dublin Road in Street around 4 p.m. Friday, Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, wrote in an e-mail.
Bradley Northcote told deputies Friday he had checked on his watermelons that afternoon and saw one was missing, Hopkins said. Northcote had last seen the watermelon around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
"It appeared that suspects cut the vine and removed it," Hopkins wrote in his e-mail.
"The victim advised that he grows a specific large type of Carolina cross watermelon in his backyard," Hopkins' e-mail continued. "He harvests the watermelon for their seeds which he sends to Kenya to grow them there."
The stolen 150-pound melon had a value of $1,500, according to Hopkins.
Bradley Northcote, who grows vegetables on 4.5 acres with his wife, Cathleen, won a first-place ribbon for his 134.5 pound watermelon during the 2010 Maryland State Fair, according a story published in The Aegis. The feat was later written up in an agricultural publication in South Africa, from where Northcote emigrated in the late 1990s.
He gave some of his large watermelons to food banks and also delivered two to the South African embassy in Washington, D.C., according to the November 2011 newsletter published by the South Africa Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.