WHEATON, Md. - A Montgomery County man is fighting back after he said police ticketed him for picking berries in Wheaton Regional Park. But instead of just paying the fine, he is taking the dispute to court.
Greg Visscher said he has picked wild berries his whole life.
"There's something about picking your own and getting your own that you enjoy it,” he said.
His favorite spot to pick them is at Wheaton Regional Park near his childhood home.
"We'll see them and take a little pint jug out there and just get a few berries,” Visscher said.
And in all the time he has done this, there has been no problem.
"We don't try to take too many,” he said.
That was until July 3rd when Visscher stumbled into a bumper crop. But it turns out there was something else in these woods and it was the police.
“Twenty minutes into it, I'm surrounded by three police [officers],” said Visscher.
When Maryland-National Capital Park Police showed up, his berry picking got smushed.
Visscher described the incident to us: "He said, ‘What you are doing?’ I said, ‘Harvesting berries.’ He said, ‘Do you have a permit for that?’ I said, ‘I didn't know I needed one.’”
It turns out that he did need one and Visscher got slapped with a $50 ticket for violating park code on destroying plants.
But he doesn't feel like he destroyed anything.
"The officer had the discretion to just tell me to put my berries away and not do this again -- send me a warning,” said Visscher.
While police wouldn't comment on this case, Visscher is not letting it die on the vine.
"This is not what the county that I thought I grew up in -- just a no-fun zone,” he said.
He has a court date on October 6 and hopes a judge will get him out of this jam.