by Anneli Rufus
More lovely flowers blooming all over Oakland means ... more to steal! Sunshine, buds, and blooms have brought the flower-thieves back to Temescal, where members of a neighborhood-watch group are airing their despair.
"Indeed, it is that time again," one writes, "when the flower and tree branch pruners invade our neighborhood in the cover of night and decimate our trees. Be on the watch and take precautions (cover your lower branches with vaseline or something similar it's worth a try."
Another notes: "One of my neighbors told me that Friday afternoon she saw a man stop in front of her neighbor's house, cut all the flowers in the yard, and take them away. She didn't call 911 but she did get the license plate. It's a gray van. ... This happened on Shafter Ave between 41st and 42nd. If you see someone pulling this stunt again call 911. A few years ago there was a couple stealing flowers from Temescal yards and selling them at the MacArthur and Rockridge BART stations. Please don't buy flowers from unlicensed dealers."
And another: "My neighbor also had this happen to her jasmine bush a few weeks back ... both during the day and at 3am!! This guy hacked off all the blooms, collected the trimmings, and was off in about 10 minutes. He drove an older model black Nissan Sentra." Even though this witness recorded the car's license-plate number, "the police officer she dealt with basically shrugged and said there was nothing he could do" - and that the victim "should've asked his name or requested some sort of identification."
Yet another Temescalian, knowledgeable in home-security systems, suggests: "You could put an inexpensive wireless sensor on your trees, and if they get moved more than a few inches you can turn on the sprinkler system and play a dog-barking sound through the speaker that's near that location." Another option, he muses, is "the shotgun locking & loading' sound."