Thieves target Utah brothers who planned to fund LDS missions by keeping bees

Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-14 20:07:38-04

LAYTON, Utah -- Some beehives in Layton were stolen from the teenage brothers who have spent years building the hives.

The money they made from the honey was to fund their missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and eventually college.

“We opened up the boxes and they were just empty,” said 15-year-old Bryce Bunderson.

Bryce is trying to focus on the year ahead. He has to wait until next spring to begin harvesting he and his brother’s beehives, now that this year’s product has been stolen.

“They took out the heart; it’s where all the bees are, where everything is that they need to survive and they just replaced it with empty frames,” Bryce said.

The nature of the theft is an indication that the thieves are beekeepers as well, cashing in on the hard-work of two teen brothers trying to be financially responsible.

“We met someone who sent their three kids through college doing it, so we thought we could get into it and it would be a good way to make money to help pay for our missions and college later,” Bryce said.

Each hive produces about 32 pounds of honey, which can be sold at about $7 to $8 per pound. The theft is an estimated loss of about $12,000--money that was going toward supporting Bryce’s brother, Tate, while he serves his LDS mission in Arkansas.

“And then when he gets back he was gonna take over the company, and then he was going to help pay for my mission with it,” Bryce said.

Martin James is the owner of Slide Ridge Honey. He's taught the Bunderson brothers everything they know about beekeeping, and he calls the theft heartbreaking.

“What I’m concerned about is the personal responsibility that these boys showed to honorably go on a mission and pay for it themselves, that’s where I’m at--that we need to help them and get together and figure out how to reach those goals,” James said.

The Lion House Pantry and the Wasatch Beekeepers Association are stepping in to help the boys. Beekeepers can drop off raw honey and/or cash to the Lion House Pantry in Salt Lake City and the donations will go directly to the boys. For more information, call the Lion House Pantry or Wasatch Beekeepers Association.

Contact The Lion House Pantry Restaurant:
63 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
Phone: (801) 539-3257
email: Dave Bench