AUGUSTA — The latest unscheduled withdrawal at a local credit union was from the flower bed, and it was all caught on surveillance video.

A plant thief struck the Capital Area Federal Credit Union between 9:20 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, digging up day lilies and bee balm planted a few years ago in two different flower beds around the North Belfast Avenue building.

“We love to make our gardens look beautiful for the community to share in, but that doesn’t mean they’re there for the taking,” Diana Winkley, the credit union’s president and chief executive officer, said Friday after reporting the incident to police.

Police were contacted after workers were able to isolate the footage from surveillance cameras showing an SUV drive up. Police had not identified suspects as of Friday afternoon.

“The driver pulled directly into the credit union as the curb goes around. We can see a person get out of the passenger side backseat. They were there for a few minutes,” she said. “They didn’t just pull them up; they dug them up. Then they drive out and stop on the street in front of our other flower bed, get out and take more.”

It all happened within a few minutes.

“They knew what they were looking for,” Winkley said Friday, pointing to the holes in the dirt in the flower beds where the perennials had been.

It’s not the first plant snatching in the city. Petunias were pulled out by the roots at Lithgow Public Library at Winthrop and State streets earlier this week.

Leif Dahlin, community services director, said library director Betsy Pohl discovered the thefts on Monday.

“We’ve since replanted,” Dahlin said Friday. “This is a wonderful gift from Scott Longfellow of Longfellow’s Nursery in Manchester, and it’s just most unfortunate people can’t leave it alone.”

Last year, an entire patch of newly planted shrubs were stolen from the city-maintained Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlin said.

Winkley said she contacted the credit union’s landscaper, Rob Robinson of R&A Robinson Landscaping in Manchester, and learned the stolen plants were put in as part of the landscaping required by the city when the building went up in 2007.

“We maintain them and they always look nice,” Winkley said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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