Thieves took about $2,000 worth of pumpkins and toys from Galloping Goat Pumpkin Patch last weekend.
The pumpkin patch offers kids’ activities and pumpkins for sale in the upper parking lot of Santa Ana Star Center every October. Before this year, it was fundraiser for a local nonprofit youth organization, but it became a family business after the nonprofit closed last year.
Co-owner Max Wade said he and his staff members noticed the thefts while getting ready to open on the morning of Oct. 20.
“Pumpkins were kind of strewn around and things knocked over,” he said.
As they looked around, they found that 200 pumpkins had been taken, along with a large tricycle used in pumpkin patch activities, a griddle belonging to caterers at the Star Center, a scarecrow and various other items.
“I really think it was just a bunch of kids being dumb kids,” Wade said. “Thankfully, they didn’t vandalize anything.”
The pumpkin patch is still operating during its regular hours. Wade said he didn’t file a police report, because he thought it would be a waste of time for everyone, including officers, due to the difficulty of catching such thieves in past incidents.
“We’ve had a great outpouring of support,” he said.
After a Facebook post on the theft, many people expressed empathy for the situation and appreciation of the pumpkin patch. Wade said others could help by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity if they happened to be around the event site.
“I think the biggest support people can give us is come out and have a good time,” he said.
The pumpkin patch includes a corn pit, scarecrow dress-up, basketball shoot, duck races, petting zoo, mud-pie kitchen, paintball target arena and more. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Halloween, when it closes at noon.
Admission is free for kids under 3; $5 for youth ages 3-18, seniors, first-responders and military members; and $7 for other adults.
Pumpkins and other fall décor are available for a separate charge. If people only want to buy those items, Wade said, they can tell the staff and get into the shopping area without paying the admission charge.