Plant Thief Caught On Candid Camera

June 15, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The surveillance state is weird. One of the weirdest parts is how same issues that apply in the large scale, like NSA wiretapping, also apply on a small scale, like the guy who caught somebody digging up hostas from a tree pit in front of his house in Fort Greene. He caught someone doing something they shouldn’t be doing, but how creepy is it that he had a webcam pointed out of his window recording everything that went on?

The theft was recorded by Abby Weissman, the president of the South Oxford Block Association, who also caught somebody not cleaning up after their dog with the same Dropcam last year. In the video, which DNAinfo edited down from a 7-minute clip, a woman is seen digging up the two plants, putting them in a plastic bag, and walking off “holding my plant like it was a proud purchase,” according to Weissman. Another wrinkle to this story is that the planter was maintained by Weissman’s wife, who has stage four cancer.

This is not a serious crime, but the camera has allowed Weissman to pursue it as if it is (he plans to file a police report). If the camera hadn’t been there, it would have been an annoying thing that happens and the involved parties move on. But the cameras allow Weissman to keep tabs on his plants. It also allows Weissman to keep tabs on people moving through a public space. I don’t know about you, but I’m uncomfortable with being monitored by the Abby Weissmans of the world. Vigilante justice enacted on tulip clippers feels dystopian. A simple solution, for now, is to not steal plants.

(Photo: Google Maps)