Local News

Thieves Hit Triangle Nurseries For Another Kind Of 'Green'

Posted April 23, 2003

— For most people, a garden center is a place of beauty filled with colorful flowers and plants that make our yards come alive, but authorities say thieves have recently been targetting these businesses -- breaking into the back door, and taking whatever they can get their hands on.

On a beautiful spring day, a nursery is a great place to find treasures for your garden, but someone broke into Ken Walker's garden center Friday night, trashed his office and stole cash.

"We came in through the front door and saw the office door open," said Ken Walker, owner of the garden center. "We checked the door and it was wide open."

"[I've] been doing this for 32 years and never had anything like this to happen to us," he said.

Walker's nursery is one of eight in Wake and Johnston Counties burglarized in the last two-and-a-half weeks.

"I first took it real personal. Then, you started hearing about the other garden centers around. I just think they're targetting garden centers and nurseries," he said.

Investigators with the Wake County Sheriff's Office say later business hours and more cash transactions make nurseries vulnerable to crime.

"Very few of them go to the bank after closing. They store money or checks at the job site. They go to the bank the next day or a later time," said Lt. Richard Johnson, of the Wake County Sheriff's Office. "I would remove all valuables at night. Money, cash and receipts -- remove them from the busines."

Authorities say seven of the break-ins occurred in Wake County, just outside Raleigh, Garner, Wendell and Zebulon. One happened in Johnston just down the road near the Wake-Johnston line.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office believes the crimes are related and are asking anyone with information to give them a call.

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