Thieves Targeting Drought-Resistant Plants
Last Updated: 1543 days ago
The state of California's water crisis is forcing thousands of San Diegans to replace their yards with drought-resistant plants.However, 10News has learned that the plants have become a target for thieves.For Hillcrest resident Steve Bertiz, his front yard is a work of passion."I work on it all the time. It's an ongoing thing; it's evolving," said Bertiz.Bertiz has spent a couple thousand dollars replacing his front yard with drought-resistant plants. His work has paid off, as he has noticed a decrease in his water bill and he has even received an award.However, his landscaping also got the attention of thieves."They remove succulents; little, just spotty little things, so they didn't only take the larger plants but they took smaller ones as well," said Bertiz.On five separate occasions, Bertiz said he has woken up to find plants missing. He said each one costs between $20 and $50."They come by, they dig out plants, primarily the large showy plants," said Bertiz.Bertiz said his neighbors have also been victimized, and he guesses it is because the plants are in such high demand as water becomes more expensive.However, Bertiz said replacing the plants is also expensive and he has spent upwards of $600."I've replaced this plant several times," said Bertiz.Bertiz became so tired of people stealing his plants that he started chaining them to the ground.He drives metal stakes deep into the ground and then uses an industrial-strength cord to fasten the plants down. He said he hasn't lost any of those plants but added that the thieves have become more brazen, with some wandering up his driveway to take plants out of his pots."I'm just wondering, what's next? I mean, if it's plant materials now as they move through the property, what is it going to be next?" said Bertiz.San Diego police said they have received reports of stolen plants but it is hard to solve those crimes when there are no witnesses.