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Friday, October 29, 2010

Forget Weed -- San Franciscans Complain of Plant Thefts

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Are succulents a gateway plant?
  • Are succulents a gateway plant?
Are succulents a gateway plant?

Let's be honest. We all know what the No. 1 cash crop is in the Sunset. The specter of valuable marijuana plants being stolen by well-armed entrepreneurs -- or defended by equally well-armed businessmen -- is just one of the factors that makes living next door to a growhouse less than ideal.

Bernal Heights is not seen as prime territory for large-scale pot-growing operations. Yet residents there have complained to the police of another kind of plant-related criminality. Yes, it's the dreaded wave of -- succulent thefts!

Area residents in both Bernal and the Excelsior recently reported thefts -- or cuttings -- had been made of their succulent plants; Ingleside Police Station Captain Louis Cassenego made note of it in a recent "Captain's Message" to the public.

But why succulents? Are they particularly hardy? Particularly easy to repot and resell? Particularly easy to transport? Particularly hard to kill?

"Yes to nearly all of those," answers Jake Sigg, a longtime former city gardener and native plant enthusiast. "You can rip them out of the ground with the greatest of ease. They take to transplanting very well because they have all of that water and energy stored in their tissues. So they don't really suffer much transplant shock. They can take a lot of rough handling. So, I think they'd be very stealable."

While succulents are not exactly a bumper harvest, some can be very slow-growing, stately, and fetch a pretty penny. So keep your eyes on your plants, San Francisco. And, would-be succulent thieves -- the cops are on to your game.

"If you see a stranger in your or your neighbors front yard in the middle of the night, it would be advisable to call the police and have an officer check it out," writes Cassanego. "Many residents take pride in their yards and put in many hours of hard work, so let's help them out."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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