Man says pecan thieves stealing his family’s land legacy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South man is fighting to keep land that's been in his family for nearly 100 years. He pays for it by growing and selling pecans, but people are stealing them.

Will Henry Quinn Jr. has been growing and selling pecans for 27 years.

The 63-year-old who lives on a fixed income owns four lots and a total of seven trees. His grandfather bought the land on East Alcy Road in Memphis in 1919 after serving in World War I.

A good season earns him $3,000 but it costs him about the same to maintain the land and pay the taxes on it.

"I'm scuffling, trying to stay in front of the tax man," he says.

A tough thing to do, he says, when people are stealing his pecans.

His no trespassing signs have been ripped down and Quinn says he's called police. But it's hard for them to catch anyone.

"I had one crack head that was stealing them in the morning and go up to the local service station and sell them."

Quinn thinks some thieves are regulars, people who know he has a leg injury and lives around the corner, where the trees are out of sight.

"It hurts. It hurts me financially. It hurts because I feel like I'm being taken advantage of because some of them know that I have a handicap."

He admits some people don't realize it's private property, especially since he can't afford fences or surveillance cameras.

Quinn says he guards the trees when he can, all part of his fight to pay for the land and keep it in the family.

"If I can do that for another year and couple of months, we will have been walking this corner a century."