Green Thumbs on the Lookout for Sticky Fingers

By Omar Villafranca
|  Saturday, Apr 17, 2010  |  Updated 5:21 AM CDT
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Plant Thieves Plucking Oak Cliff Gardens

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Green thumb gardeners are keeping an eye out for sticky fingers.

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Plant Thieves Plucking Oak Cliff Gardens

Oak Cliff gardeners have set up a website for people to report plant thefts.
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Green thumb gardeners are keeping an eye out for sticky fingers.

Thieves have hit several Oak Cliff gardens in the past few weeks, taking everything from herbs to bushes. Twenty-five rose bushes were stolen from Lake Cliff Park. A church had its herb garden dug up.

Some gardeners have set up a website for people to report plant thefts in hopes of finding the culprits.

Andrea Bithell of Oak Cliff Organics manages an organic garden for Smoke Restaurant in Oak Cliff where she grows beans, broccoli and radishes for the restaurant. Thieves harvested three peach trees and  four blackberry bushes from the garden behind the eatery.

Bithell filed a police report but said the garden theft is a big loss for the restaurant.

"These peaches will grow to be served in main dishes, a side dish, in specialty drinks," she said. "That's dollars lost initially from the theft of the tree, but dollars also lost from the fruit it was going to produce that can't be sold in our restaurant anymore."

Sgt. Warren Mitchell said a plant theft is a Class C misdemeanor if the value exceeds $50.

Bithell said the thefts might seem like a victimless crime, but they aren't to her.

"It's very personal," she said. "This is my heart and my soul, and my sweat has gone into this garden."

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