HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With spring around the corner you may be thinking of planting some new trees, but if you do, be sure to keep a close eye on those plants.
A beautification project on Stella Link suffered a setback, thanks to plant stealers.
It may sound outrageous, but the Woodshire Civic Club has video to prove someone ripped one of their new trees from the ground and took off with it.
"A lot of just shock and disbelief that someone would just steal a tree," Christian Gubitz, the president of the civic club, said.
Security cameras were rolling when someone stopped their car along the esplanade on Stella Link. A person was caught on camera ripping out a recently planted loblolly pine.
"When he pulled it out of the ground, it had a lot of dirt and mulch on it, so I don't know, he must have made a mess of his car," Gubitz said.
The homeowners association adopted the esplanades, and for the last few months, volunteers planted, watered, and nurtured young trees in an effort to make the street a little more pleasant.
"We go to great expense and effort to do something like that, to improve our city and neighborhood, and for someone to take that, it's just very random and disturbing, and we hope it's not a trend," he said.
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The entire neighborhood was caught off guard by the ugly response to making the community a prettier place.
"It's such a bizarre thing. We don't know the car, we don't recognize the individual, so we don't have any motive," Gubitz said.
The civic club filed a police report and posted the video online hoping that someone will recognize the plant pilferer.
Residents know it's not the crime of the century, but ever since making the tree theft public, other victims have come forward.
"We have seen some people post on Nextdoor that they have had other examples of landscaping and plants being stolen. Just to put people on notice that people are watching, the community is watching," Gubitz said.
The association says the stolen loblolly pine cost around $50, but the time and effort to plant and care for the trees amount to a lot of volunteer time.
If you recognize the plant bandit in the video, you are urged to call the Houston Police Department.
SEE ALSO: Video shows woman stealing potted plants on porches
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