Garden theft: Is plant pilfering a growing Toronto problem?

Some green thumbs in the city are seeing red after their plants are packed away by garden thieves.

Metro Morning digs into issue after listeners complain about stolen plants

Scene of the crime: The flower box outside the Brooklyn Tavern where owner Cindy Wilkes says flowers were taken. (Facebook)

CBC Radio's Metro Morning may have drawn attention to a "growing" problem in Toronto: plants pilfered from homeowners' gardens.

Host Matt Galloway interviewed two listeners Tuesday who shared their stories of rising in the morning to discover only empty holes in garden beds where once thrived their carefully nurtured flowers.

Cindy Wilkes, who owns the Brooklyn Tavern, had flowers go missing from a planter outside her Leslieville eatery.

"They were dug completely up and holes were left in the garden," she said Tuesday. "They were the mature plants, the tall plants, ones that really popped out."

Wilkes says her neighbour even caught and confronted a plant thief.

"My neighbour caught a woman stealing the flowers and ran after her. The woman apologized and said 'I'm so sorry.' And when she opened her bag she had all kinds of flowers in there."

Homeowner Paul Van Dongen erected a sign after flowers were repeatedly taken from his garden.

"What kind of jerk steals other people's plants right out of their garden?" his sign reads. "Whoever you are, I hope that you are plagued by bad karma. I hope that red fire ants infest your home and eat you alive. I hope that sewer slime oozes into your basement and rots your house. I hope a giant anvil falls on your head. You are a scumbag plant stealer."

So why would someone steal a plant?

"Maybe it's like why celebrities steal at stores when they can afford things, maybe for the thrill of it?" said Wilkes.


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