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That's likely the first question any reasonable individual asks after hearing about what happened to Justin and Tory Engelhardt of Sioux City.

When the Engelhardts, who as owners of Wild Hill Honey manufacture and sell honey, went to dust snow off 50 beehives stored in a grove on their 18 1/2-acre property on the city's west side about 10 a.m. on Thursday, they discovered the shed in which they store beekeeping supplies had been ransacked and every hive had been knocked over, killing half a million bees.

“They wiped us out completely,” Justin Engelhardt told The Journal. “They broke into our shed, they took all our equipment out and threw it out in the snow, smashed what they could. Doesn’t look like anything was stolen, everything was just vandalized or destroyed."

As is true of any vandalism, this act was senseless. More than, say, a broken window or spraypainted wall, however, what vandals did to the Engelhardts was more than a nuisance; it took vandalism to a deep level of maliciousness. It produced damages of between $50,000 and $60,000 and threatened to destroy an income-producing business.

For this reason, it deserves harsher punishment than garden-variety mischief.

We don't know what local or state statutes might apply, but we encourage the legal system to leave no stone unturned in efforts to throw the heaviest book they can find at whoever is responsible.


Opinion editor

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