SCHENECTADY — Vale Urban Farm is seeking the return of a rare rabbit stolen over the weekend, the second rabbit theft from the Schenectady farm in just over a year.
Someone broke into the farm on Saturday night and stole one of the three American blue heritage rabbits -- named Banana -- out of her locked metal hutch.
The perpetrator ripped wire from the front of two cages, but left the first rabbit in place.
"We think perhaps the first one is a tougher rabbit to deal with," said Melissa MacKinnon, garden educator. "Maybe it bit them."
The other two rabbits, Apple and Dandelion, remained. One cage remained undistrubed.
Banana was viewed as the farm’s ambassador, MacKinnon said.
"The one they took was the sweetest and most friendly," she said.
Vale Urban Farm, located at the Brandywine Entrance to Vale Cemetery, is a community-supported farm in Schenectady that works within a "food insecure community" growing vegetables, herbs, fruit, rabbits, chickens and bees.
MacKinnon said there is a security camera trained on the garden, though it's not theirs. The group is considering further security measures, she said.
The farm announced the theft on Facebook Sunday. The incident has been reported to police.
"We are sad to report that someone broke into our rabbit cages last night. Apple and Dandelion are safe and sound, Banana is missing. Please keep your eyes open for her, pictures below," the post read.
The incident marks the second time in as many years the urban farm has seen a rabbit stolen.
Two rabbits were taken last June, and MacKinnon said publicity led to their safe return within a week from someone who said they purchased them.
The farm was also broken into on Wednesday evening, and MacKinnon believes the two incidents may be connected.
“There were two young boys who jumped the fence who claimed they wanted to get a chicken to feed to their dogs," MacKinnon said, citing an account relayed to her by a cemetery worker.
Two passerby overheard the young boys' discussion and attempted to intervene. The kids scattered, but later returned with their a pit bull and their mother, who chased the passersby off with a pair of sticks, according to MacKinnon.
“At that point, they were unable to get anything," she said.
But the following morning, human and canine footprints were found nearby alongside a chair, and all animals were undisturbed.
“My best thought is those kids came back and thought it was easier to get the rabbits," MacKinnon said. "It's really a bummer — we've been having a great season."
The theft has been reported to city police.