05/29/2012 11:09 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2012

Thieves Dig Up, Steal Entire Vegetable Garden

OMAHA, Nebr., May 29 (Reuters) - Thieves dug up and plundered a vegetable garden planted by children at an Omaha, Nebraska community center over the Memorial Day weekend, a recreation center official said on Tuesday.

Sometime during the long weekend, the 4,800-square-foot garden at the Sherman Community Center was completely dug out and stolen.

A year ago, the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department was one of 10 agencies awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association's 2011 Grow Your Park program. The grant supported creating and expanding community garden operations and activities. The goal was to increase participation among children and teens.

During the last year, children at Sherman Community Center prepared plants at a city greenhouse. They recently started working outdoors with the plants, including tomato, basil, hot pepper, zucchini, onions, green beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, potatoes, asparagus and peas.

"It is unfortunate ... that these children will not be able to enjoy this produce with their families," said Brook Bench, acting Parks and Recreation director. (Editing by Greg McCune)