Plant thief on the loose in Seattle

"Bizarre" skulker(s) in Seattle neighborhoods and city parks have been stealing trees, plants and shrubs, to the tune of thousands of dollars worth of public and private property.

One woman and plant theft victim, however, was a Costco shopper. And there was a sale. On security cameras.

Only a few weeks later, her video of a plant thief removing and making off with her new daphne shrub was making the waves on YouTube.

And then she was on NPR, giggling evilly about her new security measures. She's chained her magnolia tree to the fence. The new daphne? It's chained at the base, put the chain through some heavy pottery, and then: barbed wire. April Jahns says, if the thief comes back, "he's going to get poked. A little bonus for me."

It may be difficult to nab the thief, despite the fact he's caught on tape; the video is dark and grainy.

And the question must be asked: Just what is he (or they) are doing with all these plants? Most of them are higher-value ornamental shrubs, hostas and roses and such, and an unscrupulous landscaper is suspected -- reselling plants to his clients. In one neighborhood, residents have been asked to take down the license plate of any landscaping trucks seen after dark.

The good news for victory gardeners: Edible plants haven't been targeted, at least not in Seattle. So your blueberries, your tomatoes, your zucchinis are all safe.

And much though it must feel vindicating to catch a thief on video, it's hardly great evidence: may I suggest motion lights?

It may not prompt the evil giggles like barbed-wired roots, but it's pretty effective at stopping a passer-by from digging up your daphne.
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