First robber of spring snatches fake flowers

A budding master criminal? No, just a low-rent thief caught on tape filching fake flowers. Someone, maybe her or not, has been ripping off the rosies for seven years.
A budding master criminal? No, just a low-rent thief caught on tape filching fake flowers. Someone, maybe her or not, has been ripping off the rosies for seven years.
Posted: March 29, 2012

A SOUTH PHILLY phlebotomist's blood is boiling after the fake flowers he tied down with barbed wire were stolen from in front of his house for the seventh year in a row.

And his refusal to remain a wallflower led him to turn over surveillance footage of the thief to police.

"It's not the crime of the century, but it's the principle of the thing," said victim Ronald Addes.

The video from Addes' neighbor's surveillance camera shows a woman standing on her toes, plucking out the 14 plastic flowers, one by one, from the front of his house on 10th Street near Jackson, and placing them in her bag about 2 a.m. March 21.

Addes said that he put the flowers out because his mother used to like them, and he switches up them up four times a year with the changing of the seasons.

The thefts began about seven years ago and are more frequent in spring and summer, Addes said. He began to double-tie down the pretend posies with barbed wire, but they still kept getting stolen.

"I always thought it was kids doing it," he said, "but every time I look on the surveillance camera for the last three or four years, it's always a woman."

Addes, 44, who draws blood at Methodist Hospital for a living, said that he would have let this slide if it had been just one or two missing blossoms, but with 14 stolen this year he went to police.

Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers said that cops put the video up and alerted the media because it's a quality-of-life crime that's happened repeatedly.

"It's not a shooting, but it's a type of crime that could happen to anyone," Evers said. "Very rarely do we say we're not putting a video out if the detective puts in the time and effort."

He said that the video and a slow news day factored in as well.

"If we had three or four videos of shootings today, the flowers would sit on the back burner," he said.

Despite the repeated thefts, Addes will keep putting up his faux flowers.

"I'm going to try some different things to stop these flower thieves," he said. "But it's a secret for now."

Tipsters should call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.


Contact Stephanie Farr at 215-854-4225 or farrs@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @FarFarrAway. Read her blog, "Philly Confidential" at phillyconfidential.com.

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