South Phila. man catches flower thief on video

Posted: March 29, 2012

A South Philadelphia phlebotomist's blood is boiling after the fake flowers he tied down with barbed wire were stolen from the front of his house yet again - something that's happened repeatedly in the last several years.

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

Addes said he put out the flowers because his mother used to like them. He said he changes the arrangements four times a year with the changing of the seasons.

The thefts began about seven years ago and are more frequent in the spring and summer, Addes said. He began to double-tie the pretend posies down 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 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 police put up the video and alerted reporters because it is a quality-of-life crime that has 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 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."

Anyone with information may 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 www.phillyconfidential.com.

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