CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating one of the most unusual acts of thievery they have ever seen. Someone has been going around stealing beehives-- the kind with lots of stinging bees.
"I was real surprised. I was real surprised that they stole them," said Max Shaw.
The 80 year old owns the property on Southway Road where the theft took place. He's not a beekeeper, but he knows a lot about them.
"You know the bees back there-- I'd say 100 percent of them are Italian bees. They are yellow. Yellow and orange. American bee is a black bee," said Shaw.
Bees have quite a defense mechanism, but experts say a trained bee keeper could remove a hive with or without a suit.
The theft has the neighborhood abuzz with speculation.
"When I heard that the hives went missing and that black bear had been roaming around here, and I said, ‘Hmmm, that old bear might have come and carried off a hive down in the woods.’ But we don't know that happened," said Shaw.
Police think the predator in this case is human, and so does the leadership of the Mecklenburg Bee Keepers Association, which has hives on the property.