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Green-Thumbed Theft Puzzles Employees of Downtown Durham Company

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DURHAM — Some Durham employees were just trying to spruce up their property when they planted nearly 200 flowering plants on Friday. Imagine their surprise Monday morning when they discovered the flowers were gone.

The owners and employees of Southern Electric Motor Company lovingly and carefully planted 192 vincas outside of their downtown Durham building. One lonely plant is now all that remains.

"Last Friday they came in with their dirty clothes on, got down on their hands and knees and planted four, five, six flats of flowers -- 192 of them," says owner Martin Rigsbee.

The flower bed has been reduced to a pile of dirt.

"At first I was angry, and then I was amazed that someone would take the time to dig up all the flowers that we worked so hard to plant," says employee Gloria Minor.

Owners expect the vinca heist will go unsolved. At least they are getting a good laugh about it.

"I think of many things that happen in Durham, but not somebody stealing flowers we had planted," says Minor.

Rigsbee did not report the theft to police, figuring officers have better things to do. He says the plants cost about $100.

Employees are not planning to do any more landscaping.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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