ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The front porch of the Vinoy House Bed and Breakfast in St. Petersburg is flush with greenery. Though they might not look like much, the owners think the hanging plants there have been the target of thieves.
“There’s no way to prevent it,” said Dimitre Papazov, owner of the business.
So, it keeps happening. In the two years Papazov has owned the Vinoy House, he said the same plant pillager has come back every two to three months to take hanging plants, despite the security cameras, fencing, and warning signs.
“It’s not just the dollar,” Papazov said. “It’s just knowing somebody is going to steal something from you every certain time.”
He said he thought the first theft was random.
“I didn’t expect that to happen again, but installed the cameras for future things,” he recalled. “I didn’t expect the same person to come again, and again, and again for the flowers.”
Papazov said the poacher has now stolen about $1,000 worth of plants since they get more expensive the longer they grow.
“Specifically with plants, as they mature, they get bigger,” explained Shannon Ortigosa. “They get a bigger root system. They become more valuable as they’re larger.”
Ortigosa owns Golden Rain Nursery. She said the plants at the Vinoy House can be hard to find sometimes because they’re so popular.
“Interior plants have just exploded in demand,” Ortigosa said. “They’re not hard to find, but they don’t stay in stock very long.”
Which drives up the price if resold, which is what Papazov thinks is happening.
“The aggravation,” Papazov said. “It’s more from that somebody’s always come to your property and try to steal something.”
St. Petersburg Police Department confirmed to 8 On Your Side they are investigating the thefts. Now, the Vinoy House is putting up some fake plants with their real ones.