LORAIN COUNTY - Thousands of dollars worth of items are stolen from a local garden center, and part of the crime is caught on camera. The brazen thieves struck in the middle of the night.
JR Pandy, owner of Pandy's Garden Center in Elyria, arrived to work Wednesday morning to discover someone had broken into his business overnight.
Pandy showed Fox 8 dozens of holes in the ground where different variety of trees once stood.
Surveillance video shows three people, wearing all white, with hoodies and masks, walking around the 14-acre nursery around 12:30 a.m.
They appear to go straight to a surveillance camera and use a pole to tip the camera up so it's pointing away from their activities.
"They must of been thorough and kind of cased the place before they came in, they knew where the cameras were," Pandy said.
Pandy says they took various types of trees and plants displayed outside and inside.
"They took coffee plants, rubber tree plants, they took amaryllis bulbs. Just really strange things, forty plants of impatiens, they took," he explained.
The tree thieves didn't stop with plants, they also broke into a storage trailer and got away with several expensive tools.
"All the tools and such were hanging over here, the wheelbarrows were in here, chainsaw, blower," said Pandy.
They got away with plants and tools and most likely carted them away in Pandy's cargo van.
"We had a white Econoline van that they must've used to load everything up and take off, so we haven't gotten all the numbers yet of everything, but I know it's gonna be in the tens of thousands of dollars," he added.
Pandy's family opened the garden center in 1961, he says relatives and employees all feel violated.
"Once that love of plants gets in your system, you can't get it out, so it really kind of hurts," he said.
Investigators with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department say they are also trying to find other surveillance video that neighboring businesses may have captured.
Pandy wonders if the thieves could be private landscapers. He is also trying to think back to any employees that could be responsible.
The garden center is offering a $500 reward to anyone who can help police catch the thieves.