Wearing High-Vis And Drinking A Beer, Pair Steal Plants From Daycare Garden
A couple of green thumb thieves have targetted a Victorian childcare centre, allegedly ripping out and making off with the native plants growing in its gardens.
An unidentified man and woman were captured by CCTV removing plants from garden beds at Crib Point Early Learning Centre, located south of Melbourne, on May 11.
Police allege the pair-- who are believed to be locals -- stole at least 10 assorted native plants including Kangaroo Paws and native grasses, between 8pm and 9:30pm.
The man, who was wearing a high-visibility shirt at the time, can also be seen enjoying a cigarette and what appears to be a beer during the robbery.
Despite the fluoro attire -- arguably the worst outfit of choice for a thief-- police are still working to identify the pair but have received a number of lines of inquiry.
The early learning centre's owner, Christine Geremiah, said she was "shocked and disappointed" to find someone had helped themselves to the plants, just eight weeks after the business opened.
"[I'm] disappointed that someone could come and do that to a brand new local business," she told 10 News First.
"We were shocked to see the disregard just ripping out the plants and no regard for it being someone else's property."
Geremiah said the plants would have only amounted to about $100, but that it was less a concern for the money and more a concern someone had violated the property.
She said she has no idea why someone would decide to steal plants from the business.
"It is very odd. I don't know, Mother's Day the next day possibly, taking plants to sell at markets, who knows what they're thinking," Geremiah said.
Plant theft certainly sounds like an odd crime, but it isn't completely uncommon.
Earlier this month, owners of a home in Mt Lawley, Perth, took the dramatic step of installing a temporary fence to protect plants in their front yard.
"We have a repetitive plant thief in our neighbourhood," a sign on the fence said.
"To the individual(s) involved, SHAME on YOU! This thief has been reported to the POLICE."
Landscaping Australian homes and businesses can cost a great deal of money, making plants a valuable item some people do choose to insure.
"Plants aren't in the top 10 of home items that are stolen but there are cases, and increasingly so, of plant theft," Lisa Kable, manager of communications at the Insurance Council of Australia, told 10 daily.
"There are different insurance products that cover it and others that don't, it's best to be aware if you're investing in plants in your home. Landscaping is a significant component of some people's homes."
Kable said local councils are also often a target for plant thieves, often targetting median strips where trees and shrubbery are planted.
"Councils do lose plants. There is insurance available to local councils but it's up to them to assess whether they want to allocate funds to cover the plants," she said.
Anyone who can identify the pair filmed at Crib Point Early Learning Centre is urged to contact Hastings Police.