Trend of produce stand thefts has risen recently

By Tony E. Windsor

Gordy Produce has been a roadside landmark along Delaware 9, in Laurel for 51 years. Over the years, it has been cost-prohibitive for anyone to be staffed at the stand. Like many roadside and private-property produce stands, Gordy Produce has operated under the "honor system." Patrons simply stop and pick out their fruits and vegetables and then drop the money in a cash box. It has been a business system that has worked fine, at least up until the last few years.

Jeff Gordy, son of the original owners of the stand, Charles and Theodosia Gordy, says that over the years he has seen an increase of incidents where people take advantage of the honor system. He said there are those who will drop paper in the cash box, or leave less money than the produce actually sells for. However, he said this year seems to have been a particularly bad one for incidents of theft.

"I have always believed that at least 85 percent of the people who stop by the produce stand are honest people and do not take advantage of the fact that there is no one on duty at the stand," he said. "There will always be those people who may take a few more tomatoes than they paid for, or who leave less money than their items actually cost. But, this year I have had situations where people have stolen produce from the stand and just took off with it. This has been a bad year for losses due to theft."

Gordy said it is not financially feasible to have anyone work the stand, so the honor system has been relied on for over a half-century at his family stand. Gordy said when his father first started the produce stand he used a coffee can

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