Reports of the theft of “succulent” plants–plants that can retain water and adapt to survive in drought-like conditions–are on the rise in Northern California.
CBS News’ San Francisco affiliate KPIX reports that Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek became one of many recent targets of plant thieves who are ripping off succulents precisely for their drought-resistant properties. Last month, a thief stole several rare Echeveria plants from the garden.
“It does seem weird that somebody would go and steal a plant, but it’s kind of surprising how often it happens in general,” Ruth Bancroft Garden assistant curator Walker Young told KPIX.
The KPIX report includes surveillance footage of plant thieves caught red-handed in the middle of the night. Incidents of plant theft are reportedly on the rise in communities across San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.
Due to their resilience, succulent plants can often survive being ripped out of the ground and stolen, something that Young says encourages plant thieves.
“I think they tell themselves that they’re taking a little piece, and they haven’t entirely killed the plant, and they haven’t disfigured it so badly that in a few years it won’t grow back,” Young said in the report.