ONTELAUNEE TWP., Pa. - Emotions were running high at the Leesport Farmers Market in Berks County on Wednesday as customers and children learned they may never again see the market's beloved goats.
Last week, four goats, along with other animals, were stolen out of the market's barn, and owners are still trying to track them down.
"People are sick, very sick!" said Jean Reichard, who has been going to the market for nearly 20 years.
"I can't even put words to it. It's inhumane," said Amy Clancy, who is also a regular at the market.
For the first time, customers looked into an empty pen and reacted to the theft.
"It's just shocking someone would stoop so low to steal animals," said Susie Wurst, who brings her son by the goat pen to pet the animals.
The market in Ontelaunee Township must go on, but the hearts of the young kids who pass by every week were hurting the most.
"It's wrong to steal the goats," said Devin Wurst, with his mom by his side.
"I'm really sad because I love those goats," said Emily Haak, whose family has been coming to the market for years.
Owners managed to pull it together and hold their scheduled kids event and back-to-school bash, but Alfalfa, Barley, Buckwheat and Clover were on the minds of many.
"I didn't want them to be stolen because I like goats and they were really fun to look at and play with," said Elijah Morgan, who was upset by the theft.
Instead of petting and playing with the goats, kids and their parents were met with a note on the pen telling them about the bad news and thanking them for their thoughts and prayers.
The owners said the goats were stolen late last Wednesday night. The goats were swiped along with four pigs and a sheep.
Police are working the case. The market said it is following up on a lead and offering a $200 reward for information.
"Please return the goats. I love them so much," said Haak.
"People and children look forward to petting them, they don't belong to you," said Wurst.
If you know anything that can help police find those goats call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. If your tip leads to an arrest you could get a cash reward.
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