WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A family in Wilmington is devastated after more than 1,000 rare Venus Flytraps were stolen from Alderman Park.
According to the NC History Project, there are only a few hundred types of carnivorous plants left on earth, and only six of those are native to the United States.
The Rehder family donated $500 to preserve the city park which was destroyed by poachers.
Stanley Rehder spent his life work in the garden, planting everything from Pitcher Plants to Venus Flytraps, but it was all destroyed within a matter of weeks. Now, his daughter Julie Rehder is heartbroken because to her, these were more than just plants.
"My father spent more hours out here than he did with his family," said Julie through tears. "So all these plants are like my brothers and sisters out here. To see them gone is like losing a member of my family."
She can't believe her father's favorite place has now been destroyed by thieves. The emotional attachment to the plants comes from her father, who taught her everything she knows.
Julie's mission is to find out who took the Venus Flytraps and prevent it from happening again.
"The people who did this did it for a quick fix for their own financial needs," said Julie. "In doing so they harmed what Wilmington is known for."
The Wilmington Park staff is currently working with the police department on potential security options to stop future thefts.
The question now is how to rebuild the garden.
CFCC lab technician Daniel Sheret is confident the plants will be restored by next spring through a long term cross pollination and seed saving program.
Several people have come forth wanting to donate to preserve the garden as a result of the theft. Whether the money will be used for security improvements or as a reward for information leading to an arrest is up to the city.
Anyone with information about the stolen plants is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department's non-emergency line at 343-3600 or send an anonymous text at: TIP708 and the message to CRIMES (274637).
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