Palm Tree Thieves Thwarted by Microchips

By Jenna Briand
|  Sunday, Oct 11, 2009  |  Updated 8:11 AM PDT
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Palm Tree Thieves Thwarted by Microchips

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FORT MYERS BEACH, FL - AUGUST 19: A palm tree lies up rooted by the winds from Tropical Storm Fay August 19, 2008 in Naples, Florida. Fay moved inland Tuesday after making landfall in southwest Florida, bringing soaking rains and gusty winds but failing to reach the minimal hurricane status that had been predicted. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

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We've heard of micro-chipping a car to locate it after theft, or even a pet. But implanting a microchip in a palm tree? That's new.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Turns out there's quite a racket going on in the Southern Coachella Valley with the theft of young date palms. To combat the crimes, a community services team is working with palm growers to better protect their crops, reported InstantRiverside.com.

A Delray Beach, Fla. company, VeriChip, is selling radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags that are easily planted on the trees. The data encoded on an RFID tag would allow officers to trace the tree back to its owner.

Why would someone steal a palm tree? Cold hard cash. A mature palm can sell for anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on its height and variety.

And how would someone steal one? Sneakiness, and a big truck. A young date palm can be up to 10 feet tall.

Tree thieves, be warned. Technology like this might thwart your "green market" profits.
 

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