Brave Thief Caught With Thousands of Live, Stolen Bees

Police tracked down a couple’s missing bees in Brittany
Wikimedia/Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez

An anonymous tip brought police to the home of a former apiary intern who had stolen tens of thousands of live bees from his former employers.

A person must have skin of stone to think it’s a good idea to steal tens of thousands of live bees, but that’s just what happened in France recently when police tracked down 25,000 stolen bees in Brittany.

According to The Local, 61 hives worth approximately €60,000, or $83,000, went missing from a beekeeper in the Loire region in March. Beekeeper Bernard Nicollet said the hives were taken in the middle of the night by someone who knew to take only hives containing live bees, and who had to have had a lot of specialized equipment to be able to make off with 61 hives full of live bees in the middle of the night. Nicollet and his wife said the missing hives represented a decade of work.

But this week an anonymous tip led police to the home of one of the Nicollets’ former interns. The intern had transported the stolen bees all the way to Brittany and set them up for himself. When police arrived, the intern claimed he had bought the hives from the Nicollets. 

Marie-Christine Nicollet told reporters she and her husband were very happy to be getting their bees back unharmed.

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“We are thrilled,” she said. “We will see them as soon as we get authorization from a judge.”