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Plant Theft Update--2015
ONE TIME AMNESTY IF YOU BOUGHT ONE OF OUR STOLEN CYCADS
As you may know, our nursery experienced a series of rare cycad thefts. Most of these were very rare species we had imported over the years.
The thief (sometimes using the aliases Jason Green or Max DeAngelo) is believed to be Rocco Tyler DeFranco, AKA Rocco Ty DeFranco, AKA Matthew Tyler Hardy.
These are the plant species that you should document if you bought them in the last 2 years:
The legal process to address these thefts is now underway. LAPD undertook an investigation, arrested Rocco Tyler DeFranco, and our nursery is taking legal action against DeFranco and others who profited from dealing in stolen property. California law (Penal Code Section 496) allows anyone injured by the sale of stolen property (like our nursery) to bring a civil action against the seller, or a person who receives stolen property, for up to three times the amount of actual damages, costs of suit, and reasonable attorney's fees.
Sellers of endangered species like cycads are required to maintain documentation of provenance, and on imported plants, all CITES permit data. A reputable supplier should be able to provide you this information when you purchase a plant. If the supplier is unable or unwilling to provide this, there is a reasonable chance the plant was not acquired legally.
We are offering a one-time “amnesty period” for anyone who believes they have, or who knows of the existence of a plant that may have been stolen from our nursery. We will be happy to work something out with you that will be fair, so that you have clear title to your plant without paying more than fair value in total for it, and so that the sale of stolen property is not a total loss to you or to us. We can also provide you with documentation that passes clear legal title to you for the plant. We want this to work for you.
Back in July 2011, we asked members of the rare plant community what we want our roles to be, and whether a low discount price offered for a rare plant of questionable origin is worth it. If we support thieves, through action or inaction, whose fence will they jump over next? Whose garden will they visit uninvited to take what we've nurtured? While our nursery is now veritable “sound and light” surveillance show for nighttime visitors, will every cycad collector need to do this in the future?
Whether you're a hobbyist, a collector, a home gardener or a nursery owner, you’re a member of a special community that appreciates rare plants and nurtures them. Please help ensure that plant theft does not become one of the pillars on which our community is based, and help ensure its future survival by working with us to resolve this situation and put it behind all of us.
Please contact us privately at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information, questions or feedback.
Plant Theft Update--2015
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