Alleged rose garden thief on the run in Schenectady

May 17, 2017 06:23 PM

SCHENECTADY - The rose garden in Central Park is not as colorful as it's supposed to be. That's because a thief has stolen three of its rose bushes. He dug them up, put them in a bag and walked off.

It's not the crime of the century. The three rose bushes cost a little over $10 each. However, the Garden Restoration Committee is sick of people taking the flowers and they want to know who did this.

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On a sunny spring day, the rose garden could be the most beautiful spot in Schenectady. Apparently, somebody wanted a little part of that beauty for their own front yard.

"A man with a bag and he saw him pull a rosebush right out of the ground and then he saw him walk away and then pull up another one someplace else and then another one," explained Dave Gade, volunteer garden operations supervisor.

Neighbors saw the alleged theft Monday and called police. One person NewsChannel 13 talked to said he overheard the man say he needed something for his lawn.

There are signs if you're too thick to know garden etiquette. It says don't pick the roses. However, people do when they’re in bloom.

The rose garden has had vandalism before. For example, broken lights, but this is the first time somebody came up and pulled bushes straight out of the ground.

"One night there was a beer party in here and at midnight and the sprinklers weren’t scheduled to go off but they did and they broke off 40 sprinkler heads," noted Gade.

There are hundreds of bushes of all varieties and colors and they will all start to bloom in about a month.

The garden has been around since 1959 and in 1995 the Volunteer Committee took over from the city. Part-time staff and projects are funded by donations.

Gade says it was once named the third most beautiful rose garden in the country in the 90s. Since then, they've added the fountain, a small pond and a pergola. The next project is adding security cameras.

"If you want to come and pull bushes out, or cut roses off, you’re going to be on TV and our TV will come after you," warned Gade.

He knows the drill. Gade says when he catches people cutting or picking flowers. The excuse he usually gets is they paid their taxes. First, these roses are funded by donations. Also, because you pay taxes doesn't mean you get to steal a school bus or take a lamp post.

If you saw anything, call police.


WNYT Staff

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