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The six-foot-tall Japanese Maple tree, estimated to be worth $300, was stolen from Nathaniel Greene/Close Memorial Park.
Katie Steinhoff is the Botanical Center coordinator.
“It was a specialty tree you don’t necessarily find in mass quantities at lots of local nurseries so maybe that’s why it was so attractive to someone. It surprises us every day of people that don’t think twice about picking the flowers and taking things home,” Steinhoff says.
Since then, police and park rangers have increased patrols, and volunteers are being asked to keep a look out for suspicious activity.
George Freeman, editor of Greene Magazine and a member of Friends of the Garden, hopes this never happens again.
“There’s a lot of money and time and passion invested in those gardens. They’re there for the public—not only to enjoy—but to learn from,” Freeman says.
No suspects have been identified for the crime. However, the park has received some good news recently.
“This is kind of surprising, but we did have a person that has stepped forward and said that he would be willing to donate a tree, so you know getting the word out, I think it really got people excited in the community and they didn’t like to see that happen," Steinhoff says. "So we've actually had a person that said ‘I would like to replace that tree for you.'"
Anyone with information into the theft is asked to contact the park. There is a $500 reward.