News: Burglary, Trespass, Theft and Vandalism Mar a Community Garden

Bed-Stuy Blog reports on a recent theft from the Clifton Place Memorial Garden and Park:
This garden, located on the corner of Bedford and Clifton Place, is so enjoyable to me because the members there are friendly and the place is beautiful. I held a special place in my heart for this garden because it has a koi pond visible from the sidewalk. ...
- Vandals Can’t Take Garden Members’ Spirit
I don't know this garden, but it's a lovely place, judging from the photos of it.
Earlier this week I stopped by to do my routine goldfish gazing and I noticed that the pond was no longer set up and the fish were mostly gone. There was only one koi in the pond and he was gulping for air trying to survive. I thought that the members were probably in the process of moving the pond, and that someone had accidentally forgotten this little fish. I immediately emailed Melvin, who heads up their garden club, and he responded promptly. He told me that they weren’t moving the pond; the pond had been vandalized and the person or persons who did it took the pond filter and all of the goldfish except one. He assured me that they had since taken that one abandoned goldfish out of the pond and moved him (or her) to another location.
Unfortunately, theft from urban gardens is an ongoing problem. (I just couldn't bring myself to write "perennial problem ...") I've known gardeners to weave barbed wire through the branches and root balls of shrubs they plant to deter the casual snatch-and-grab. Tactics like these will impede and reduce the risk of theft, but nothing can completely deter the determined criminal.

When we moved to our new neighborhood, we heard stories of containers stolen and plants ripped from the ground. Our next-door neighbors had someone pull up on a bicycle, dig their Japanese Maple out of their front yard, and cart off with it. Stories like these made me reluctant to plant anything, let alone containers, in the front yard. I've been lucky so far.

This episode sounds like someone cased the garden before they hit it. I can imagine a visitor, welcomed into the garden, gave thanks by coming back to break into the garden, trespass, and steal from the community for their private pleasure. The vandalism was inflicted out of rage or spite when they couldn't manage to get everything they wanted, such as the pump.

I hope it's reported as a crime, and that anyone with information comes forward to return to the community what was taken from them. Has anyone noticed any new water gardens make a sudden appearance in the past few days?

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