An upstate New York man used explosive Molotov cocktails to “burn down the mailboxes” of two Amish “business associates”. It’s been well-documented that Amish can be targets of vandalism and harrassment. Some cases are driven by pure dislike of the Amish, or as a sort of boredom-killing prank. This case seems to have had a financial motive behind it.

According to the story in WNYT, the man in question hired two Amish to build a sugar shack for him. The words chosen in the article – “business associates” – makes it sound like the Amish were in partnership with this man. But it sounds like they were simply hired by him to do a job.

A sugar shack is a small building where maple tree sap is boiled to make maple syrup. Here are two pictures of one in another Amish community in the state, taken by Tom in New York:

Maple Syrup Evaporator

Amish Maple Syrup Production

There’s no information about what may have happened to make the relationship between the two sides sour, but we can assume it probably had something to do with the sugar shack project. Whatever it was, the man reportedly first threatened to burn down the homes of the men. Destroying the mailboxes looks to have been an escalation with the threats of home arson in the background.

It may have been that this “gentleman” believed that he could use threats and destruction of property against the Amish – in a mistaken belief that they would not report him to authorities.

This is a rather plain group of Amish. All things being equal, I’d say more traditional Amish are probably less likely to engage police. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever do so. While the alleged threats weren’t enough to trigger a call to the cops, blowing up their mailboxes apparently was.

Whitehall has been home to an Amish community for some time now, since 2013. The settlement was started by Amish from Fort Plain, New York. Several years ago a three-part report was published on this community which painted a positive picture.

Amish were portrayed as an economic benefit to the area. A store owner “said she loves how ‘honest, courteous and polite’ they are and added that she tries to help them out however she can.” The Assessor for the town of Whitehall added that “They all treat me like family.”

Despite those glowing reports, obviously not everyone in Whitehall feels as warmly towards the Amish…or at least not in this, hopefully isolated case.


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