Early in February, EA posted the following on Tapped Out Help page:

ATTENTION: The Lemon Tree is currently disabled and cannot be stolen at this time. Sorry! We do hope to get this ability restored in the future, but at this time we cannot estimate when that may be. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, and we greatly appreciate your patience.”

My guess is that this has less to do with technical issues and more to do with Apple. After all, the only way the Lemon Tree could be acquired in the first place is through a Mystery Box. And while some people may have been lucky enough to get their Lemon Tree through the free Mystery Box that appears every 5 days, others would have bought one or more Mystery Boxes hoping to acquire the elusive Tree. And, under those circumstances, that makes stealing a Lemon Tree akin to real life theft, something Apple may not have been happy about.

So, perhaps the loss of the ability to steal Lemon Trees together with the promise to restore it in the future is really all about finding a way to distinguish between free and paid-for trees. And that’s likely to minimize complaints to Apple that something that people had paid good money for had been stolen by another game player.