UPDATE AUGUST 23: We filed a Garland police report on them this morning. At the least it will establish an official record. We are hoping it will enable us to file a restraining order against them to ever enter the Garland Community Garden again.
This will discourage any poacher from taking from any community garden in our area. Up until now, there have been no consequences for these people. A conviction for violating a protective order (restraining order) is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. However, if you have two or more previous convictions, it becomes a third-degree felony, carrying a possible 2 to 10 year prison sentence.
THE THIEVES HAVE BEEN CAPTURED ON CAMERA AT THE GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN.
We know what they look like and what kind of car they drive—a white Cadillac Escalade. There were two of them. A man and a woman. They came in a white Cadillac Escalade. We don’t know their names yet but we do know that they 1) knew they were stealing and 2) knew that we have 24-hour camera surveillance. in the garden. They were warned that they were being captured on video camera.
HOW DO WE KNOW THEY KNEW THEY WERE STEALING?
We had a brick right in the large pot of kale that they stripped. The brick reads: “Don’t steal this kale.” I put that brick in the kale bed that I steward because on May 22, this plant was stripped of 95% of its leaves and almost died. [Kale will produce for up to two years if it is well-maintained and harvested in a responsible way.]
HOW DO WE KNOW THEY KNEW THEY WERE BEING SURVEILLED?
We have signs planted all over the garden warning people that we have 24-hour camera surveillance. I guess they thought we were bluffing and/or they don't care if people see them stealing.
They entered the garden on Saturday, August 20 at 3:31PM and left about ten to fifteen minutes later. We have videos of them stealing other produce from the garden, not just stripping kale.
This couple have been to the garden before because both Charlie and I have seen them there walking around. They know the layout of the garden and they knew what they were coming for. It would appear they came prepared to steal because that is just what they did and in a short time.
We have a video of the woman carrying three large squashes from one of our gardener’s plot, Pat Patel. Pat was saving the larger squash for seed for next year. This is a special squash grown in India. You cannot obtain these seed local. There is a sign right in front of Pat's plot that reads "if you didn't plant it, don't pick it." This couple didn’t just steal food that didn’t belong to them, they even stole the future of food for next year by harvesting seed plants.
One of Loving Garland Green advisors has told to us file a police report. Since the garden is a grounds lease and Loving Garland Green are the operators, this likely falls under theft of private property.