Alleged Plant Pilfering Perps Caught on Surveillance Video in Tribeca

Still photo from surveillance video of woman that Tribeca resident Rob Power says shows the theft of his planters. Photo: Rob Power via Tribeca Trib

Mar. 18, 2018

After someone swiped a pricey bonsai from outside his first-floor Tribeca apartment last year, Rob Power was determined to capture—on video at least—the next perp.

It appears that he succeeded.

Redirecting one of his dog cams out the kitchen window, Power began keeping video watch on his nearby planters that, in warmer months, sport an impressive array of greenery. The March 10 video below captures the moves of two people with a shopping cart who stop in front of his building on Greenwich Street, near the corner of Laight. One waits on the sidewalk while the other walks to the building with a basket, then returns and the pair briefly walk out of view. (Power said the woman put two planters with perennials that were perched on an air conditioner, in the basket.)

Video by Rob Power, recorded on March 10. (Time stamp is 16 hours off, Power said.)

Less than two minutes later they come back, this time the video appears to show them taking a pot and a plant stand.

“All of our planters that are more than 50 pounds are still sitting there so I think [they] saw something they could quickly take,” said Power, who moved to his 68 Laight Street apartment in 2014. “They had to reach over some bigger stuff. It wasn’t like it was sitting on the sidewalk. They had to go out of their way to go up there and get it.”

“There was no mistaking that it had been left out for free,” he added.

Power tweeted the video but told the Trib he is not suggesting the police divert its resources to tracking down the suspects. Still, if the alleged thieves “are on a shopping spree so to speak in Tribeca,” then he hopes video will help solve other possible larcenies, he said.

In the meantime, Power said he refuses to admit defeat and give up on helping to beautify the neighborhood. But future planters, he said, will not be such easy targets. “Maybe the silver lining here,” he said, “is that the bigger, heavier, harder-to-steal planters were getting to replace what was stolen will give more protection to the perennials.”