BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Venus fly traps are part of what make southeastern North Carolina special. They only grow naturally in southeastern North Carolina, but owners of a farm in Brunswick County are upset after having $65,000 worth of their plants stolen. Now, they're increasing their reward to find the thief or thieves.
Originally, the owner of the farm, Joe Wood, was offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. But now, that amount has been increased to $3,000.
Wood says that not only are his plants likely gone for good, but he blames state law for promoting this type of criminal behavior indirectly.
Wood has been the owner of Fly Trap Farm in Supply for 15 years. His livelihood depends on years of work to make the plants perfect.
"If you start from seed, it takes three to five years to grow," said Wood.
When Wood was out of town, criminals ransacked his green houses – stealing 10,000 venus fly traps, valued at nearly $70,000. He's offering a reward, but he would rather find the bad guys himself.
"You got no rights anymore," said Wood. "If I put a dog out here and he bites somebody, I can be arrested according to the law. If I shoot one I can go to jail for that also."
According to Wood, a trip to prison would be worth the revenge.
"I'm old enough now, how long can they keep me?" Wood joked. "I'm not going to be here forever."
He can laugh about it now, but what really makes him angry is the fact that North Carolina law prohibits people from selling fly traps found in the wild. Wood says that ruling gives criminals the motivation to attack.
"The fly trap is going to be extinct but it's because the state created a black market," said Wood. "They're stealing from everywhere and they created that by making it illegal."
Now, Wood is just waiting for the next time they get robbed. At least one of his employees is worried about his future. Lee Sellers has worked at the farm for a few years but he says that may not last very long.
"I'm concerned about my job and it stresses you out to see all the hard work go to waste because you've been robbed," said Sellers.
In addition 10,000 Venus fly traps, the criminals also stole approximately $1,200 in power tools. As of right now, detectives have not made any substantial developments in their investigation of this case. If you have any information, contact the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
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322 Shipyard Boulevard