Has the District’s epidemic of thefts of plants (“Secondhand Roses,” 4/26; “Pick and Roll,” 5/10; “Cash Crops,” 6/21) spread to nonhuman perpetrators? On July 13, Shepherd Park resident June Confer came home from a meeting to find that her family’s two front-yard dwarf Cortland apple trees—bearing 35 to 40 apples between them, Confer estimates—had been plucked bare. A neighbor suggested it could have been the work of “four-legged invaders,” such as the squirrels that polished off his own Bartlett pears. Confer has doubts: It would have taken a well-drilled cadre of squirrels to pick off three dozen apples in the three-and-a-half hours she was away, and the thieves left no scraps behind. Who- or whatever took the fruit is in for a gustatory disappointment, Confer says; the Cortlands were a month from being ripe. —Joe Dempsey