Plant Thief???

soonergrandmomJune 8, 2012

Have you seen this article?

Here is a link that might be useful: Crazy

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I hadn't seen this, but it doesn't surprise me. It happens all the time. Very often, though I won't say always, the thieves are selling the plants, garden tools, nice containers, wheelbarrows, etc. that they've stolen at flea markets or they're pawning the wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, string trimmers, etc. at pawn shops. Thieves will steal anything if they think they can get a little money for it. They'll steal newly planted trees or shrubs, roses bushes, annuals, perennials...almost anything. They'll come right into your yard and pick fruit off your trees, tomatoes off your plants or pick up pecans that have fallen from your pecan trees. They rationalize this, when challenged, by explaining how God put that pecan tree there and his pecans are for everybody. Give me a break!

A couple of yeara ago a Master Gardeners group across the river from us in Texas landscaped a city park with a huge amount of plants, including rose bushes. Just a few days later, all those plants had been stolen.

Visit the Small Spaces/Urban Gardens forum here at GW and read their thread about "how you know you're an urban gardener" and you'll see many references to stuff being stolen from their yards and the lengths they go to in order to foil the would-be thieves.

Some people are crazy and some people will steal anything and that's a terrible shame.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:24PM
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After having half my spring crop stolen I can understand the man's anger. I mean, it was 39 plants in all stolen right out of my back yard when I was not home at various points of time. The sad thing any gardener I know will share plants, myself included, if they just ask. I have had people admit to me they have stolen plants in the past.

I have no kind words for them types of people.

Apparently they don't like broccoli, but I had a killer broccoli harvest this year! LOL

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Ezzirah, Did the stealing stop?


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I've read more posts over the last 2 years about this happening. Seems to be a problem that is getting worse. And then also several have had problems with fruit being stolen once it reaches maturity or close to it. Essirah I agree with you and the gentleman in the video. If they would ask many would share plants with them. As to mature fruit I tend to give it too close friends, those who I feel would enjoy it and can't grown a garden and sell the rest. Water, ect is too high to just grow and give to those who are healthy and able but for what ever reason don't grow a garden. Most who know me wouldn't dare enter my garden without permission. Even my sister won't go near the garden. She will help herself to what I have picked and setting on the table/cabinet in the house or in the fridge but she doesn't enter the garden. Jay

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:31AM
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One year I gave a tomato plant to each child in the family of a young couple so they could watch it grow. Any additional food available to this family would have been a plus because they were really having a rough time. The mother wanted to leave the fruit on the vine until it was fully ripe so the children could see the whole process so it became a nice little family activity that they did together. They never got one ripe tomato. Each time they would think that they would pull it the following day, it would disappear in the night.

I think she was even more sad when I later explained to her that they could have pulled it and it would have finished the ripening process inside.

I have never lost anything from my garden, but it isn't very visable. From one place you can see a few squash plants, but the rest is blocked from view by the asparagus. You would have to be in one of the neighbors back yards to see very much and all but one is fenced.

My container plants are out in the open, and one day I heard a woman who was visiting at the rent house next door talking about them and how she wanted to get her some. If she did get them I wouldn't have known unless she took them all at once. I knew a little of her history, so it would not have surprised me. She was around here for several months but I never trusted her.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:35PM
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That has never happened to me but I'd be really angry if it did. It's not just the money involved (although that would be bad enough), but all the work it takes to plant a bunch of flowers over and over again.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Dawn - The steal did stop, but only after all the cauliflower plants and all but three of the tomato plants were gone. The sage I thought was stolen was ate by a bird I discovered a pizza smelling nest in a tree I chopped down. The red cabbage is still there, the brussel sprouts are still there, but that is about it. I pulled the broccoli this morning that was done.

I am gearing up for the fall garden, and I am hoping I am not in for round two, I will get more aggressive if that happens.

Any sort of thievery ticks me off, but this really gets me!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 4:56PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Yeah people will steal anything. My garden thief that stole almost everything (statues, hammock, kids furniture and toys, garden tools, decorations, planters) the first time around came BACK. There wasn't much left, just a trellis I made out of an old crib and a small metal owl hanging in a tree, but he stole them. I would cry my eyes out if he decided to start digging up my plants next. I've actually counted my lucky stars that so far the thief has decided not to steal or harm any of my plants. It's disgusting how low people will stoop.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:42AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Ezzirah, I would have liked to have seen the look on your face when you found the fragrant bird nest. : ) At least the birds got some use from your sage.

I hope the thief doesn't know enough about gardening to know that we have a second chance with lots of veggies and herbs in the fall, and I hope that you have a great fall garden.


I'm still astonished by how much they took, though not so much by the thievery itself. It is not at all surprising that they came back. Often, when people's homes are burglarized, the burglers wait a few weeks for them to replace stolen TVs, video game consoles, computers, etc. and then come back and steal the replacements. There are thieves everywhere. Either last summer or the summer before, a rancher friend up the road from us had a big metal gate made of pipe stolen from his pasture. This was a gate that was in use to keep the cows in the pasture, not a spare gate that was sitting around leaning against a barn wall or something. I think it must have been stolen during the night, because our road has fairly steady traffic during the daylight hours and I think that they wouldn't have dared steal that gate in broad daylight.

Another friend of ours had some construction work done at his house. A few days later, thieves came during the night and stole a lot of his property, including a big welding rig on a trailer. A lot of people felt like someone who'd been at his property doing work was involved in that burglary because of the timing of it and because they came in a back way by cutting a fence in a way that indicated they were familiar with the property, but as far as I know, no arrests ever were made and I don't think any of that family's stolen property ever was recovered.

We have seen a huge escalation in the number of thefts here since a pawn shop opened up near the casino. Our county didn't have a pawn shop before that, and it sure makes you wonder.....

Someone attempted to burglarize our place once, but our now-deceased dog, Biscuit, ran him off, and that guy stupidly spread the word far and wide that you couldn't come steal anything from us because we had a mean dog. If everyone didn't already think he was a thief, after he told that story, they knew he was and so did we. If he ever shows up on our property again, I'll greet him with a gun. We have six dogs now, and at least 5 of them are not friendly to strangers. That may or may not be the reason we've not yet been burglarized since moving here. It probably doesn't hurt that my DH escorted two poachers off our property at gunpoint once. After that, we had a whole lot less trouble with poachers too.

If I'd had burglars stealing my stuff, I imagine I'd put in security cameras and an electric fence that was not clearly marked. I'd be so mad, I'd want to catch them one way or another. My apartment was burglarized when I was 19, and my roommate and I were so unnerved by the thought of a stranger being in our apartment that as soon as the lease was up, we moved someplace else. It is a creepy feeling to know strangers are creeping around your property stealing your stuff.

I don't think I've ever had produce or flowers stolen from the garden, although there's been a few times that I thought maybe some tomatoes were taken. Everyone who knows me knows I'd give them tomatoes if they asked.

Because my garden sits in the pasture between the road and the house, which sits back 300' from the road, I do worry people might stop and help themselves, but the tall deer fence likely makes that less of a possibility now than it was before when we only had a short fence. My dogs usually bark if anything is out and about, prowling, including armadilloes, so if someone was out there, I'd probably hear the dogs going crazy barking.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:08AM
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*Sigh* Just became a victim of plant theft today.

I was gone from the house for three hours -- in the middle of the day -- and came back and one of my sunflowers was gone. Nothing left, not any torn roots or anything, not even a hole. THE THIEF HAD FILLED IN THE HOLE. No one would guess there was even a plant missing, except me. What absolute, selfish jerks.

There's really nothing I can do about it. Besides not growing anything out in my front garden patch.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 7:06PM
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So sorry to read about the thefts. I haven't had that problem here yet, although the estate sale I had after the deaths of both parents was stolen a few years ago - even the tables I'd borrowed to set it all out on. In broad daylight. They even waved at the neighbors (who assumed I knew them, it being broad daylight) as they left.

Many years ago my father had some problems with people eating his cherries and pears in our side yard, and he put up a beehive right in the middle, and it stopped the problem right away;) It was empty, but everybody knew the hives inside the fence were not so it worked anyway.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Astroknot, That is insane. Who would steal a sunflower? I'm sorry that happened to you. At least they filled in the hole.

Betty, Nowadays it seems like there are so many thieves and they'll steal anything that's not tied down.

I love your dad's solution. He was very clever.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:43PM
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I read of a guy placing a sign at the entrance of his garden that said "beware of rattle snakes". As the story goes, the garden intruders stopped.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:11AM
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I always want to post a sign that says: Dog is Mad and so is owner.
Had a friend who had a Civil War cannon in her yard. She always wanted to post a sign that said : Cannon is Loaded and so is owner.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:24AM
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I heard about a farmer who was suffering nightly raids in his watermelon patch. He put up a sign which read, "One of these watermelons has been poisoned." The next morning he went out to the melon patch, and there was another sign which read, "Now there are two."

But seriously, thievery is a terrible thing, and likely to get worse as our economy tanks. Too many believe that if you have something, you owe it to them. There is also a deterioration in the work ethic. The previous owner of our place put in a very large garden, for a number of years. He produced far more than he and his wife could use. So he spread the word that people could come and pick for themselves. He had virtually no takers. Some informed him that they'd receive the veggies,... if he'd pick them for them.

Our main garden borders on the road, with a hog fence and barbed wire wire between them. I've considered moving it. But after all that work, I'm hesitant to embark on such a venture. Nevertheless, we do have an advantage. Neighbors go up and down road frequently. Everyone knows everyone. And they'd know an unaccompanied stranger in a heartbeat. Many carry concealed; some not so concealed. On top of that, we have two very large guard dogs roaming at night, and one in the day.

I grew up orcharding in NJ. Almost all the homes in our neighborhood had full sized fruit trees. When fruit appeared ripe, it was not uncommon for a carload of people to pull up, strip a tree, breaking main branches in the process, and leave... in minutes. That was a big problem, since in the suburbs one could not employ most of our country deterrents.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:41AM
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I am absolutely stunned that people would do these things.

Ezzi, when you had that happened I couldn't believe it but it was the only thing that made sense. Sure enough. I just cannot believe people still plants in such a way. I can't understand thievery, much less petty thievery.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:13PM
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After reading ALL of these incidents, I'm kind of in shock. Seriously? People fall to the lowest common denominator when they have NO sense of morals, no sense of respect for others' efforts and property, etc...but they do have a sense of entitlement, don't they?
State of the Nation, unfortunately.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:21PM
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