Southwest Georgia (WALB) - Harvest season has begun and according to the Georgia code - pecans fallen during those days belong to the owner of the trees.
Several law enforcement agencies from counties in South Georgia said they are already seeing pecan thefts.
Officials said if it's not yours, don't pick it up.
Regardless of where they fall, even if they fall on public roads, street or highways, they belong to the owner of the tree.
Anyone who violates that Georgia code will be charged with a misdemeanor.
Many growers have installed warning signs, fences, surveillance cameras, even hiring security guards to patrol.
In the past several years Thomas County deputies said they saw many arrests from pecan thefts, some even resulting in felony charges.
"The second thing we deal with is people stealing harvested pecans. Once the growers have harvested and has them bagged up to sell we've had people actually go in and steal pecans from there. That becomes felony theft and we take it very seriously," said Capt. Steve Jones. Thomas Co. Sheriff's Office.
What many people don't know is that after the harvest season ends, those nuts on public roads and highways are deemed to be abandoned by the owners of the pecans.
That means that any person can remove those nuts from the public rights of way, without facing criminal charges but only after harvest season is over.
Harvest season runs from October 1st to December 31st.
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