Snatched! Venus flytraps poached from Brunswick Co. farm
Mon, 14 Oct 2013 21:59:53 GMT —
A farm in Brunswick County, North Carolina was recently the target of an unlikely theft with an unusual bounty: Venus flytrap plants.
The Venus flytrap's fascinating ability to lure and consume insects is what makes the plant so popular with kids and what allows Joseph Wood of Supply, North Carolina to make a living growing thousands of the plants for sale to hobby shops and other stores.
"Ace Hardware buys a lot. Kroger used to buy a lot. They're novelty plants so they go every place anybody can sell them," Wood said.
But Wood's farm took a big hit the night of September 25, when someone broke into his greenhouses and stole 10,000 of the plants, which he valued at around $70,000.
Weeks later, it's still possible to see where poachers yanked the tiny Venus flytraps right out of their little red pots.
The plants are rare enough that there's a North Carolina law against digging them up in the wild. Wood says the law created a black market for them.
"Now they've made it illegal and they've talked about it being a felony and all kind of stuff, so it just put everybody underground."
Wood says even if the people who stole the plants are caught, tried and convicted, the damage is done and he may never fully recover.
"I probably won't live long enough to get where we was," Woods said. "It's going to take years to get back where we was, sure it will."
One of Woods' employees says he's concerned about whether he'll be able to keep his job. Since the theft, Lee Sellers says employees have spent much of their time helping the farm recover.
"A lot of cleanup and trying to get everything back to normal and try to get everything growing again," said Sellers.
Wood has put up a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.
He knows what he'd like to see happen to them, if they're ever caught.
"Out in that field, buzzard bait."
Anyone with information about the Venus flytrap theft is asked to contact Detective Jason Fennell of the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office at 910-880-4895.