He’s climbin in ya windows, he’s snatching ya flowers up, tryin to steal them so y’all need to hide ya orchids, hide ya lillies and hide ya lilacs because they stealin’ everything out here. But you don’t have to come and confess because Cleveland Park is lookin’ for you and we gon’ find you. So you can run and tell that, Homeboy!
Washington DC Crime Data
CRIME INDEX 5 - (100 is safest) – DC is safer than 5% of the cities in the US.
My chances of becoming a victim in District Of Columbia 1 in 83
INT. HOME – CLEVELAND PARK DC- DAWN
I just looked out the window in the 3100 block of 34th Street and saw a man
walking briskly southward carrying a large bunch of lilacs. They weren’t wrapped
but loose. I believe I have seen this same man in past years walking away from
the Cathedral Close bearing large branches of flowering shrubs. I am sorry if
your shrub has been stripped.
To: Cleveland Park
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:57 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Lilac thief on the prowl? He was walking northbound along the Glover-Archbold Park stream valley
path this morning about 6:45am in full flower. He was carrying a
large armful of lilacs.
Thinking this was a one-time thing some residents were even cynical…
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:21 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Lilac thief on the prowl? A Good howl!!!!! This is what happens when you make a decision to become a stay at home mom and before you realize it your babies are off at college and you’re wondering what the F%^! to with yourself as that Harvard degree hangs like albatross of around your neck.
Only in Ward 3 our hard scrabble neighborhood would emails go out sending a rallying cry for such devastating injustices to be brought to an end: … Lilac thief on the prowl?
Activist residents chimed in…
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:39 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Lilac thief on the prowl? I too am devastated beyond expression … I mean, the cheek of the man (who, by the way, I know is probably black – bet he looks like Bubbles from The Wire too), taking flowers that, if you asked the neighbours, they wouldn’t have noticed existed. At least the brother got good taste … Someone please write a short film about this criminal – the world needs to know this s**t.
This is my favorite news item of the year since Manchester City Defender Kolo Toure faced a six month ban for taking his wife’s diet pills!
Please consider the environment before printing this email
Sent: 20 April 2011 15:24
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Lilac thief on the prowl? And, since you’re in WARD 3- the LIBERAL MECCA of the world—you didn’t mention that he was B***K or L****o. There goes the friggin neighborhood… literally…..ha ha…come on a handful of flowers?
But those with whom we entrust our security remained steadfast in the face of accusations and ridicule…
Several recent Listserv postings alerted us about a neighborhood flower thief and provided a description of a possible suspect - a short, white male, about 60 years old with wavy salt and pepper hair. Someone, perhaps the same individual, made his/her annual visit to the Newark Street Community Garden in the past two days, stealing some 50 peony stems from several garden plots, stripping bushes clean of all stems with flowers and or buds. It is difficult to understand how this person goes unnoticed, walking thru the gardens located between the 2nd District Police Station and the Newark Street dog park, a children’s playground, and across the street from the McLean Gardens condos, where people are out and about at all hours, especially early in the morning walking their dogs — which is when we suspect the thief appears.
One McLean Gardens resident has seen a man fitting the given description leaving the community garden, arms loaded with flowers. The previous Listserv postings sited the same man in various neighborhood locations including the Glover Park trail behind McLean Gardens, walking with armloads of unwrapped flowers in the early morning hours, and even cutting hydrangeas from people’s home gardens, then quickly walking away.
Let’s protect our properties and catch this thief. If you see someone fitting this description who looks suspicious e.g. walking with an armload of unwrapped flowers, especially in the early morning hours in or near the Community Garden, please call 911 and take a picture of the suspect if you can.
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 12:58 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief My dog and I chased down this man, last year, after I watched him steal hydrangeas from neighbors on Van Ness and Veazey Streets. I confronted him and then followed him up 39th Street towards Tenley Circle. I lost the trail after searching for the police, who normally park near the 7-11. I haven’t seen him since, but then again, the hydrandgeas aren’t yet blooming.
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 3:00 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief My dog and I chased him two years ago when I caught him stealing flowers from my front yard. I chased him from 46th Street to Western Avenue where he jumped on a bus. His arms were full of flowers; he must have had two dozen or more.
Sent: Tue, May 24, 2011 5:09:44 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief I wonder what kind of sentence is appropriate for such a crime… any idea?
Despite his unconscionable actions, some swooned over the villain…
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 10:11 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief
I’m going down the farmer’s market at the end of the day to buy cheap bunches of flowers, and then I’m going to get up early in the morning and jog down to the scene of the crime with my hood up … My friends and me can take it in turns so they get lots of photos to compare and contrast.
Please let the man never stop stealing flowers - I looooooooooooooove this saga
Sent: Tue, May 24, 2011 10:17 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief Not sure what sentence is appropriate but the penitentiary isn’t a place for someone who’s so fond of flowers.
And so the saga continued… FLOWER THIEF UNFAZED BY RECENT BRUSH WITH THE LAW!?
Or perhaps he had inspired a copy cat??
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 7:41 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief
I’ve been reading the posts about the Cleveland Park flower thief. Well, last night or early this morning, he or someone of the same lowly character stole a bunch of mine. I went out this morning to get the paper, and I noticed someone had snipped off the tops of almost all of the stalks of my three phlox plants. They didn’t even have blooms on them yet, just buds. What kind of a person steals someone’s flowers?
Did anyone else notice any thefts recently?
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:36 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief I had over 50 peony blooms stolen from my plot in the Glover Park community
garden by the flower thief. Diane mentioned that he entered [the local] Flower
Shop with flowers and left without. I think they need to know where these
flowers are coming from and refuse to purchase from him. Or perhaps we
should not shop there. I certainly don’t want to buy flowers that I’ve
carefully tended over the years.
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 2:50 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: flower thief My peonies in the Ft. Reno garden were spared this year, but I saw a man fitting the description boarding a bus at Wisconsin and Van Ness with an armload of flowers in late April. Perhaps the folks at the [local] flower shop could identify the guy for the police.
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 12:31 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief I sent a letter to [the local Flower shop ]. Here’s their response.
In response to your e-mail regarding the stolen flowers from your gardens:
Our shop has been in business for over 75 years, and we have done business with over 20 different wholesalers as well as local gardeners, farmers and private growers, from the “old woman with the lily of the valley” to the suburban farmer who brings his truck by weekly.
We became aware recently that an older gentleman with whom we have done business with several times is accused of being the “Cleveland Park Flower Thief.” This gentleman came by our shop few years ago with sample flowers that he claimed came from his farm in Virginia, he even had an old stakebody farm truck.
We bought some of his flowers as they were pretty and we had no reason to believe he was a fraud, as we have been doing business with many different people throughout the years. When we were made aware that this gentleman was accused of stealing flowers, we felt terrible not only because we were deceived but because we have gardens ourselves and we know how we would feel if somebody stole our stuff. We will be happy to cooperate with the police to provide any information we know. We also apologize and empathize with all those affected.
To heck with Diplomacy…
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2011 9:46 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Flower thief - new sighting and photos As I was walking towards the State Department this morning, I was surprised to see a rather dirty, short man get off a bus (the L1) with a tremendous bouquet of hydrangeas. I am pretty sure that he is the same flower thief that others have seen. The flowers he was carrying were beautiful but looked like they came from a garden — the stems were not even and the blooms didn’t look commercially-grown and perfect.
The gentleman hurried into a florist shop not far from the bus stop in Columbia Plaza near 23rd/C St NW— and I followed him inside. He tried to hide and then became very upset when I took his picture. He denied taking the flowers, and said that they came from “someplace special in Maryland.” I left when he became somewhat aggressive with me. He left the store a few minutes later empty-handed. While the store was supposedly open, I never saw a salesperson or the business owner there. I’ll stop by the shop later today to follow up, and I have a decent photo of the man if there’s anything I can do with it.
Two Years Later… A New Call to Action as the scourge spreads!
Sent: Friday, April 26, 2013 8:59 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] The flower thief is back As many of you know, someone has been stealing flowers and flowering branches from homes, community gardens, and even the National Cathedral for many years. In the past few years, a thread of messages posted on this listserv provided important information about this culprit, including a description. We were able to get an idea of the extent of his thefts — which included Georgetown as well as most communities in Ward 3, particularly Cleveland Park and Chevy Chase. We know that he often sells his stolen goods to flower shops — because listserv members actually followed him into two shops — and the names of those shops were given to the Cmdr. and Lt. at the District police station, who have been working with us to try to catch this guy.
According to listserv members, there may be more than one person who is stealing flowers from our home and community gardens, however, here is a photo of the prime suspect: http://chevychasecommunity.com/docs/flower_guy_2013-04-22.jpg . The photo was taken in Chevy Chase this past Monday, after he stole the lilacs. His M.O. appears to be lilacs, then peonies and lilies, and finally hydrangeas. He has been seen with armloads of each of these flowers, often walking towards or on Metro or a bus…but he’s never been seen stealing them.
The Cmdr. and Lt. know who this man is and the Cmdr. told me the other day they have spoken with him about the thefts. But unless he is caught stealing, not much can be done. So if you see this guy around your home, be alert. If you see him stealing, try to take a picture of him in the act, and call 911. Send the photo to the Cmdr. and/or Lt. with as much information as you can provide, e.g. time, day, date, location, etc.
Since he was stealing in Chevy Chase earlier this week, Cleveland Park can’t be far behind.
To catch a (flower) thief…
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 9:49 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back Thanks to the photo, I realize I saw him this week between 7:15-7:30 AM walking south on Connecticut Ave in the Dupont Circle area. Sadly, I didn’t catch him in the act. But for those of you on the watch, this means he’s apparently stealing very early morning to have reached that far downtown.
Of course once again not everyone sympathized with our plight…
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: [Cleveland-Park] The flower thief is back To the residents of Ward 3, no matter that you can’t get your government to ban assault weapons, or drones, or phosphates on your arugula, or antibiotics in your beef, or to provide adequate welfare support for those genuinely in need or mental health services for our military vets, it’s so much more important’ given the fact that the police have nothing else to be concerned with, that you remember to call them when you have evidence of a poor guy, distributing the floral wealth and bringing joy to others beyond your community.
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: [Cleveland-Park] The flower thief is back
White people, huh? Cuz you know these folks is white …
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 12:35 PM
Subject: RE: [Cleveland-Park] The flower thief is back Still at large - your local cops can’t catch a flower stealer??? Maybe you should tell them that he is selling drugs to the local kids; that might be a better incentive for them..? Better hurry up before he becomes a real life Robin in the hood!
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 12:42 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back I looked at his photo, and felt compassion for him. He looks like he’s
had/is having a hard knock life!
If I had a garden full of flowers, I’d let him have a few bunches to sell. I envision writing him a note:
Feel free to take a few flowers - but leave some for me, please.”
I know it must be upsetting to see flowers missing, but he’s a child of the universe like each of us.
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:41 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back
Thank you to the person who posted the comment about humane solutions.
This thread saddened me last year, and I was saddened to see it start up
again. Not to make light of the upset people feel about loss of their
flowers, but the vigilante tone of the comments is disconcerting
A chord touched…?
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:31 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: Flower thief
Since I don’t own a garden, I don’t have a dog(wood) in this fight,
but I do want to respond to the poster below, who is ready to invite
the flower thief to go on stealing. It’s one thing to have compassion
for this man after he is caught but quite another to ask residents to
look the other way while he comes into their yards and community
gardens and leaves with the products of their hard work and care.
We have police to deal with crime and then after an arrest, we have a
system of justice, which I hope can distinguish the amount of harm
(and therefore the punishment due) between stealing flowers and other,
violent crimes. Unless this person has been convicted before of theft,
I doubt that jail time would be the punishment. I do think if
neighbors want to express compassion for him, the time to do it is
when he is in court. Perhaps the people who feel sympathy for him
would send in letters on his behalf. Or better yet, look for him on
the streets (he seems to be everywhere) and offer him help so he can
turn his life around.
But please don’t urge the people who tend their gardens lovingly to
allow this man to go on stripping them for his own gain.
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:41 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back While I appreciate your kind heart, I don’t think that anyone anywhere who goes to all the trouble to plant a garden to make their home look the way they want is going to appreciate what this man is doing. I don’t care if you live in Northwest, Northeast or Anacostia. I have seen many homes where the owners go to great lengths to make their living space more joyful by using flowers and shrubs. They, too, have a right to enjoy what they have worked for and not to see it repeatedly demolished. This man does not have the right to take it away from them by stealth.
And so The Watch continued…
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:43 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back I just wanted to let you all know that I just passed the Flower Thief on Wisconsin Avenue, about the 2130 block. He is walking north. Guard your vegetation.
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:08 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: flower thief Just saw him standing on the NW corner of 34th St and Newark
(Sunday 10 AM), recognized him from the listserve photo, dressed as he was in the photo; called the police.
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:51 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back
This man can frequently be seen dining at the Whole Foods in Glover Park, no doubt with the profit he earns pinching my peonies every year.
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 6:01 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back This conversation has deeply touched my gardener’s heart. I just have to say that this man isn’t just stealing “flowers”, he’s stealing branches of trees - dogwood, lilac - and branches of hydrangea bushes. To flower well, to grow and “prosper”, these plants need feeding and care, and to be pruned properly. From what I understand, this person is not at all careful about the shape and condition of the plant from which he’s taking cuttings.
Gardens are often places of history and sentiment - even emotional therapy - especially trees and bushes which are long-lived. In my garden are bushes and trees that were gifts from my mother, old friends, and a neighbor who has since died. I also have naturalized daffodils and wood hyacinths that I planted with our sons (now in their thirties) when they were very small. I would be heartbroken to see these things destroyed or defaced.
Gardens are often about heart, and family, and friendship, and individual aesthetic. A garden has to be taken as a whole - many people add to the color and variety of their garden year after year, like a painter retouching a beloved painting over time. Flowers to a gardener aren’t expendable “things”, they are part of a living creation tended over time.
I agree that the man who’s doing this may very well need help. I too would hate to see what may be a psychological problem relegated to the court system. But, what he’s doing is just not right. This person should not have leave to cull branches from often old and treasured plants in private (or public!) gardens.
I’m shocked at the flower stores that buy what he brings in.
The very best to all,
A Dead End…?
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 8:43 AM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back I am horrified that there are flower stores that buy from him. Do any of our neighborhood flower stores buy from him? What is being done about showing his photograph to the stores? I know [a local store] well, having been on the flower guild at [church] for many years. I will be willing go and inquire. But first, what has already been done?
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 2:08 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back There was an article in the NW Current - http://bit.ly/18fQeeu - regarding the damage to redbuds in the Normanstone region of NW: limbs were chopped off. I wonder if this could be his handiwork.
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 1:22 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back Count me among those who have some sympathy for the flower thief. He has been stealing flowers for a very long time. It is clear that working with the police and courts is going to be a waste of time. There are too many serious and dangerous criminals that are getting probation instead of jail time. Time in jail is not going to discourage this guy. The court may let him serve his time in the winter so as not to disrupt his livelihood! Notifying flower shops has already been tried. The shops claim that they wouldn’t knowingly buy from him.
Looking to the past for guidance, the Bible tells us that “… when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger…”
And in the story of Ruth, she says to her mother-in-law Naomi, “…’Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain….’ …As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, ‘Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her.’”
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 3:15 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back While I too commend compassionate and empathetic instinct, in this case, count me out. I’m surprised that so many are expressing so-called sympathy for a thief known only by a photograph and larcenous history, although a few have mentioned he is poor. Is there evidence of this, other than a frayed flannel? Is it because he looks a little less, well, WASPy?
I believe people should be judged on their actions and not dubious assessments of socioeconomic status. Otherwise I might be able to get away with murder while walking home from the gym. Stealing flowers, of all things, is remarkably deplorable. Show me this man is using his profits for sustenance and not for an additional 16GB of iPad memory, and I could reconsider…
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 5:36 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] Re: The flower thief is back Would people be less sympathetic to the thief if he were removing
vegetables and fruits from their gardens at harvest time to sell in
the farmers’ market? Or removing items attached to their houses
(mailboxes, banners, shutters) or cars (mirrors, hubcaps) to put up on
eBay? I think so. Perhaps flowers, because they are more ephemeral,
are not receiving the same amount of concern.
Say, how would a Badass like Liam Neeson fare?… Not so well either I’m afraid…
Ward 3 Liam Neeson: I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my garden be, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will *** you. Flower Thief: [after a long pause] Good luck.
A sliver of light…
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 3:41 PM
Subject: [Cleveland-Park] NY Times reporter wants to interview flower theft victims
We received this request seeking interviews with those who have had
flowers stolen from their gardens. Please respond directly to the reporter:
I am a reporter for The New York Times with an interest in the flower
thief of Ward 3. While I have read a lot about spottings of the alleged
thief, I still have yet to talk with someone who had their flowers
removed. Is there someone out there who is willing to be interviewed?