Flower Thieves Ravage Rockridge Gardens

Spring brings poaching bloom to upscale suburb

Oakland's sunny climate makes it the perfect place to grow a beautiful garden -- and therefore the perfect place to poach pricey flowers.

In the upscale neighborhood of Rockridge, the East Bay Express discovered plenty of gardeners who had tales of stolen blossoms.

And it's not a victimless crime.

A dogwood tree was stripped of nearly all its flowering branches this month, and likely won't survive the attack.

The thieves presumably turn around and sell the blooms at cut rates.

It's lead to some creative countermeasures by horticultural homeowners:

Residents have dreamed up preventive methods including installing security cameras, painting branches bright colors to dissuade reselling, leaving visible lamps and overhead lighting on all night, contracting with private security companies, and installing wireless sensors set to activate sprinklers.

Clearly, a thorny issue that will be difficult to weed out. Photo by Seán A. O'Hara.

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