Shrub heist reports continue

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

Theft of foliage is a growing problem, if the recent rash of greenery theft complaints is to be believed.

After seeing news reports of the theft of 18 Old English Boxwoods from Dan Holly’s office building on Carolina Road, Jason Weeks called the News-Herald Thursday to report a similar situation at a house his construction company is building.

Weeks Construction has been building a house on Jackson Road, between Routes 58 and 13, Weeks said. About three weeks ago, a thief took 16 hawthorn bushes from the construction site. The shrubs were waiting by the side of the house in three-gallon pots to be planted, he said.

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“What they took from me probably valued about $400 wholesale,” Weeks said.

On the evening of June 28, Weeks came to the property to water the bushes and noticed that some were missing. Counting the bushes, he found only eight, meaning that eight had been stolen. The next night, the thieves returned and made off with the remaining eight.

Soon after, Weeks and his wife showed up at the house at 5:30 a.m. and found two other bushes dug up from the front flower bed. Two more were sitting in the driveway, as if the thieves had been interrupted by a passing car in the midst of the pilferage, he said.

About four nights later, three more bushes went missing from the side of the house.

The owners have not moved in yet, Weeks said. He told them he would not be doing any more work on the landscape until they do.

“I’m not going to touch anything,” he said, surmising that the presence of owners in the house could discourage thieves.

A city spokeswoman said Thursday that larcenies of plants and shrubbery after they’ve been planted is relatively uncommon.

“Thieves typically don’t want to work that hard,” Debbie George said. She noted the crimes could become felony larceny if the value of the items is above $200.

“If apprehended, the suspect(s) could face serious incarceration time,” George said.

Weeks is offering a $500 reward for information on the bushes. Holly, the Carolina Road building owner, is offering $1,000 for information on the person who nabbed his bushes.

To offer information, call 514-7915.