Consider the Red Hill Farm tomato mystery {Metro, Sept. 1} solved.

Whodunit? The squirrels!

Here's my evidence:

The squirrel population this year is huge. Just ask my cat, Mac. He is in hog (squirrel) heaven as he entertains and feeds himself on this bounty. I haven't bought cat food in ages.

Every tomato-growing gardener in my neighborhood has lost most if not all of his crop to the squirrels. I don't grow tomatoes, but I do have two peach trees that every year yield several bushels of succulent, ripe, pesticide-free peaches. This year we did not get a single one. Why? The squirrels ate every peach while it was still green. Then the ungrateful oafs left the peach pits all over the yard. I've never seen anything like it.

Regarding the Red Hill Farm caper, it strains credibility to believe a two-legged thief stole 10,000 tomatoes. Consider the following:

1. The weight of 10,000 tomatoes is surely measured in tons, not pounds. You can't put 10,000 tomatoes in the back seat of your car.

2. Picking 10,000 tomatoes would take a long time. Assume 5 seconds per tomato, and you have 14 hours of labor. That is a lot of exposure for a thief.

3. Would a thief really pick every single tomato? No human being is that thorough, especially when working at night.

4. Wouldn't a thief home in on ripe tomatoes? How can you tell ripe tomatoes by moonlight or by flashlight?

So now what do we do? Simple. Round up the usual suspects. Indict 'em. Try 'em. Convict 'em. Then sentence them to life -- at the zoo. DAVID MOWBRAY Falls Church