SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - It’s a bizarre type of theft hitting the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose. Someone is hacking away at people's gardens and in some cases stealing prized camellia bushes.
One Willow Glen homeowner who lives on Mildred Avenue said he woke up Tuesday morning to find some of his plants in his front garden were gone. Kangaroo paws, yuccas and roses right by his house all snipped in the overnight hours. He considers himself lucky. It turns out he is not alone. His theft follows a rash of stolen camilia bushes
Mary McCoullough is showing us where someone cut off 18 branches of her 50-year-old camellia bush last month leaving her heartbroken and worried the bush will never fully grow back
“It was very disappointing that someone would destroy something of such beauty and was enjoyed by the entire community,” said Mary McCoullough of San Jose.
“It was horror at first and bewilderment,” said Greg Smested of San Jose.
Not far from her house, Smested said he discovered half of his award-winning camellia tree was missing and a dozen branches stolen.
“What's going on here? Is this a prank?,” said Smested.
They all have no idea who's behind it. All of them suspect the thief is either a shady florist or someone making their own floral arrangements for personal gain who came prepared with clippers and a truck to haul away the greenery.
Florist Dana Parker said she's not surprised saying camellias run wholesale seven dollars a bunch.
“People try to save money,” said Parker. “I know they are probably trying to put things together for graduations and weddings. This is the season,” said Dana Parker of D’Anna’s Flowers.
For Greg Smested, he is now doing his best to salvage his camilia bush sealing the ends and putting an awning to cover the plant. For these homeowners their gardens to them are priceless.
Smested has now installed a surveillance camera pointed at his camellia bush. The neighbors said they wished whoever wanted the flowers and foliage to just ask instead of stealing them. They are hoping to raise awareness for everyone to be vigilant.