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Police in Appleton looking to identify man caught on camera stealing expensive plants from yards

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APPLETON — Police in Appleton are trying to track down…a plant thief.

The suspect is apparently snatching expensive plants from yards all over town in the middle of the night — and police have obtained surveillance video in this case. They’re now hoping to identify the suspect.

The suspect is seen in the video rummaging through someone’s yard in search of valuable plants. It was recorded last week by Rachel Van Handel’s neighbor.

“She contacted us and my husband went over and they looked at everything and that’s where we could see the video where he then leaves her driveway and walks across the street and over our little fence and right around to our yard which was probably when he came and stole the things from our yard,” Van Handel said.

Van Handel’s neighborhood is near City Park — where hundreds of dollars worth of plants have also disappeared.

Police are now investigating whether there’s a connection.

“Some people would kind of shrug it off and say ‘not a big deal. It’s a plant’ that kind of thing, but to us, it’s a bigger deal because you have somebody out in the middle of the night walking around somebody else’s property and then stealing things,” Appleton Police Sgt. David Lund said.

Police say they’re concerned that the man’s motives may escalate.

Besides plants, some have also lost yard items.

Van Handel said she hopes he’s caught soon.

“This is our little sanctuary. We’re kind of homebodies and we like to stay on our back patio and porch during the summer months and it’s just very violating when somebody comes and ruins that for you,” Van Handel said.

In at least one video, the man was also seen using his flashlight to look inside a window — another reason police are asking people to be alert.

1 Comment

  • Metal Maniac

    “Besides plants, some have also lost yard items.”

    Anyone seen my treasured garden gnome that I named Hans?

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