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High Springs ‘Flower Bandit’ strikes again

Nicknames are often set aside for history's most notorious criminals: Billy the Kid, the Zodiac Killer, Calico Jack, and Blackbeard all earned their titles through infamy.

But in an interesting twist, the High Springs Police Department has nicknamed a more unusual outlaw: The Flower Bandit.

The Flower Bandit garnered her fame when she was caught on video stealing potted flowers outside the Community Redevelopment Agency at 8:34 p.m. on Sept. 22.

In less than 25 seconds, the woman had uprooted the freshly planted flowers, checked her surroundings and exited the scene.

The police department posted the video on Facebook. By the look of the responses, the thefts have left residents partly amused, partly upset and mostly wondering why she would do this.

“I’m sorry, but I’m really confused about what I just watched,” commented Lisa DiGiacomo McDonald. “Did she seriously walk up to a planter, pull out the plants and take them with her?”

“I guess some people will steal just about anything,” commented Christopher Heydoran Salazar.

On Monday morning, city staff discovered more flowers stolen, said High Springs Public Information Officer Kevin Magnan.

This time the theft took place in front of the Priest Theatre and Prohibition Pizza, just around the corner from the first crime scene. Police said they think the Flower Bandit has struck again.

“City staff just planted those flowers around three or four weeks ago,” Magnan said.

The flowers were planted around downtown in an effort to brighten up the area, he said.  

“Honestly, I kind of think it’s a little funny,” said Joann Stalnaker, a longtime employee of Thompson Flower shop, located less than half a mile away from the crime scene. “I just kind of feel like it's a little sad too because High Springs has never put the flower planters out and everybody enjoys them.”

“I’ve got a flower wagon I’m going to be putting out Friday and I’m a little scared,” said Stalnaker, “I hope she doesn’t hit our flower cart.”

Stalnaker said that if the Flower Bandit’s motives were to steal the flowers for her own garden, they would probably survive if she went immediately home to plant them. But if she waited overnight, the theft would be all for nothing.

If located, Florida law states that the Flower Bandit could face misdemeanor charges for criminal mischief.

On Facebook, police made a simple request to the community: “If you see this flower bandit around town, tell her to stop stealing the downtown flowers.”

Ginger is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.