Cactus to get microchips to deter theft

Any city gardener can tell you plant theft is a large problem, but who’d’ve thought it would be in the suburban desert areas?

Soon we’ll be tagging our plants the way we do our pets.
. . . ( Palm Desert )
Over the last six months, there has been an epidemic of thefts. Officials say they have lost nearly $20,000 worth of the plants. The main target is the golden barrel, which, depending on its size, can fetch anywhere from $100 to $800 each.

The problem is so bad that surveillance cameras have gone up near large concentrations of cactuses in urban landscaping, and authorities expect to implant microchips into the barrels soon to track their whereabouts.

“Each microchip has a scannable bar code that tells who owns it,” said Police Lt. Frank Taylor. “The odds are that we won’t microchip every plant, but it will have a deterrent effect.”

A few years ago this upscale city of golf resorts and retirees began shedding its lush grass and artificial turf for a landscape more in keeping with its austere, sun-blasted environment.

Out went the phony greenery and over-watered lawns. In came sand, along with succulents, cactuses and other hot-weather plants. Median strips around town and public spaces were soon studded with spiny, twisted flora. [ read more A high tech response to cactus thefts ]

See also:
Planting the evidence
Cycad theft at Jungle Plants
Plant thieves plague a block in Brooklyn; Neighbors irate by well dressed suspects