Plant “Collector” Preys on Bensonhurst Residents

BENSONHURST — Last weekend, a beautiful jade plant was stolen off her property – the third time a thief had trespassed and taken a plant from her home near Avenue P and West 4th street, and Helen Chu decided that this time she will go to report to the precinct herself.
When Ms. Chu arrived at the 62nd police precinct , she says, the cops laughed when she stated her reason to file a report. Indeed, it may seem like a small thing – petit larceny – but somehow someone taking a plant, a living thing that one takes care of, feels incredibly personal.
It’s not that the plant costs a lot of money, more often than not the reasons are sentimental. “It broke my heart because my boyfriend brought this plant back from California and I’ve cherished it since day one.”
But it is not just that – it was also the way the thief spotted the plant, and then came back for it, with a bag in hand, in broad daylight, despite a security camera.
Historically, it seems plant thieves in Brooklyn don’t mind getting their hands dirty to get what they want. Two summers ago a woman took her time digging out hostas from a property on South Oxford Street in Fort Greene, and Crown Heights stoops have also seen pots disappear.
Neighbors over closer to 21st Avenue also have had plants stolen this summer. While this crime is likely not high on the 62nd precinct list, if you have plants stolen from your yard, do file a report, and hopefully the “plant collector” can be stopped from causing more heartbreak.
Details of the crime are as follows, according to security videos:
On Sept. 3 around 1pm, a man in his 50s-60s, wearing a light colored shirt, dark pants, and a baseball hat, rode his bike past her home, noticed her plants, dismounted the bike, came back on foot and scouted the yard. He saw her security camera and left.
Two hours later he returned with a bag, snatched the pot of succulents, stuffed it into the bag, and ran off. This time the chance to be famous did not deter him.
“In my footage, he rode on a bike with a large short box affixed to the back of his bike so it’s very recognizable and hopefully easy to spot in the neighborhood”, Helen emails.
Here is the video of the theft:

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  1. We have had two garbage cans stolen within a two week period.. Who do I report that to? There are people that have moved into this neighborhood that have no respect for property. They enter people’s yards, go through garbage cans , take what they want , leave garbage in front of your building… It’s gotten completely out of control..And I’m beginning to understand why many have chosen to leave

  2. I may have seen this person before, how can I contact Ms. Chu. I live in W5 st, ave P. I want this thief to get punish.
    For the above Sylvie – I totally understand your comments, it is horrible to see old people going through the thrash for cans. I believe after their generation is gone you won’t see these people going through your garbage again.

  3. We live in Bensonhurst, and have had plants and old sneakers stolen. Small mischiefs like these can only invite more and worse crimes. I can’t understand how little respect people have for other people’s hard earned properties. I also can’t understand why the affected can’t define the punishments, but that’s another story.

  4. I live two blocks away from this home and in the same week had a garbage can and a faux aluminum shutter hanging in front of my house stolen, the latter being very old and impossible to replace. Had to take down the remaining shutter and replace with a new vinyl pair. I also hate when people rummage through my trash before I put it out to the curb. Not everything is up for grabs just because it is outside.

  5. Hi Brandon, this is Helen, would I be able to find you on Facebook? It’s probably best, and easier, to discuss there.


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