Crooks lift plants, drop toilet

October 19, 2007
By

DAVID TABER

Since the Gazette published its exposé on local plant thievery in August, two more victims have come forward, one reporting the replacement of his shrubs with a broken toilet.

The other, Lisa Ganak, a professional floral designer, told the Gazette three large terra cotta pots filled with ivy, geraniums and bear grass, which she installed outside of El Oriental de Cuba restaurant in June, did not last a week.

The pots, ranging in size from one to three feet deep, were weighted with bricks and buried in two or three inches of mulch behind a white picket fence under a tree on Centre Street.

Noting the thieves did not disturb the mulch when they took the planters, Ganak speculated they lifted the 50-pound pots straight out of the ground.

“They must have been bodybuilders,” she said.

Ganak was hired by El Oriental De Cuba owner Nobel Garcia to install the planters. The materials cost about $200, but she did not charge Garcia for her labor, she said.

She had been planning to use the El Oriental de Cuba installation as a calling card to try to attract business from other Centre Street storeowners, she said, but now has no plans to solicit their business.

“The message was clear: why do it?” Ganak said.

Ganak said she did not report the incident to the police.

Mark Angney also called into the Gazette, reporting the theft of a number of coniferous shrubs in May from the front yard of a house he owns that was under construction at 51 Green St.

The two-foot-high plants were dug out with shovels. “We are not just talking about snipping irises,” Angney said.

Angney said he considered “setting up on the porch with a shotgun at 2 a.m.,” but settled on posting a sign on the fence that read, “Stop pilfering my plants.”

The strategy did not have the desired effect.

When he checked in the morning, thieves had stolen the sign, Angney said, “And there was a used toilet in the backyard.”

Both calls came in shortly after Boston Globe presidential campaign reporter and Paul Gore Street resident Scott Helman published a personal narrative in the Boston Globe Magazine about flora getting nicked from his garden.

The subject came up again in early September when Helman hosted an online chat about the presidential race, the transcript of which was published on Boston.com. After someone else asked him how his flowers were, an individual with the screen name Cait wrote, “I had my flowers stolen off my front porch this spring too!”

To which Helman replied, “Really? I feel your pain. Where do you live?”

The conversation briefly turned to Mitt Romney’s presidential prospects before Cait wrote that she lives in “a quiet neighborhood in Cambridge. It was quite a shocking affair.”

“That is shocking. I live in Jamaica Plain, where others have been victims,” Helman replied.