FAIRMONT - Fairmont has experienced several thefts of plants and flowers in recent days.
Stolen plants were reported at Citizen's Park outside Fairmont City Hall and also at Lincoln Park within the past week. Parks department workers first noticed the thefts late last week.
"Today we did a count of them and noticed about 10 at each place gone," said Nick Lardy, parks supervisor. "They're not just grabbing 10 of them in one spot. They're kind of picking them out in the bed. ... Somebody knows what they're after, it seems like."
This row of potted plants at Janzens Greenhouse in Fairmont was targeted by a plant thief during the overnight Thursday. An estimated $500 worth of plants were taken.
Lardy also said plants that weren't stolen were stomped on, damaging the beds.
"Someone's out there raising heck," he said.
At least $200-$300 worth of plants were stolen or damaged. With the different annuals and perennials, plus labor to plant, and then repurchasing and then replanting, the costs add up quickly.
"You're talking substantial money there," Lardy said.
Janzens Greenhouse was also targeted, losing at least $500 worth of plants this week. One of the owners, Lynette Janzen, described a similar situation as the city parks, where the thief selected specific plants out of different planters, leaving others behind.
"That's what really bothers me," Janzen admitted.
Both the parks and the greenhouses will be watching their plants more closely, and police are investigating the case.
"All the park employees know about it," Lardy said. "Unfortunately it's happening at night. ... (We're) keeping our eyes open."
The Sentinel received another complaint recently about plant theft and vandalism from T.M. Schneider, president of City of Lakes Garden Club. Schneider complained that the club's flowerbox sailboat, located by the Lake Avenue bridge at the west entrance to Fairmont, has been targeted two years in a row now. The club has been maintaining the sailboat since 1977.
"Last year we thought we had it taken care of by replacing real flowers with artificial flowers. We found out the artificial flowers are not exempt; they took them too," Schneider wrote. "... We may have to let go of a life-time commitment to this community project."