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Home Surveillance Video Captures Bizarre Landscaping Property Damage Incident

Updated: 08/05/2014 4:56 PM
Created: 08/05/2014 4:12 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier

It's one of the most bizarre pieces of video you'll see: A woman, leisurely walking down a southwest Minneapolis street, ripping landscaping lights out of someone else's lawn in the dead of night.

FIVE EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke to the homeowner, who captured the incident on his home surveillance video.

The video was taken at 3 a.m. on Saturday, outside Mark Kaplan's home on West Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis. It shows a woman calmly ripping landscaping lights out of his lawn.

The lights are secured with brackets and buried a foot underground. The video shows the woman rip out four lights, the final one resulting in an epic, 15-second struggle. But she prevails, takes a moment to admire her handiwork and makes her getaway, very slowly.

She didn't run off with the lights. She simply ripped them up and left them there.

"I expected a couple of teenage guys, frankly," Kaplan said.

When he looked at his surveillance video, he discovered the culprit was a woman in a sundress and sandals.

She ripped up six lights in all and managed to sever the wires on each.

"She just grabbed it, and pulled and pulled and pulled and yanked it out," Kaplan said.

It's certainly not the first time landscaping items have been targeted in the Twin Cities. Last summer, a thief nabbed plants across Linden Hills. Also, in Stillwater, a security camera caught an older woman hauling a huge planter from a brewery's porch.

Still, Minneapolis police said these kinds of incidents are pretty rare.

"I think that there's a consensus that this is a very unusual happening," Kaplan said.

He said all he wants is an apology and maybe, an explanation.

"Why did she do this? What was her motivation?" Kaplan asked.

Until we learn that, the legend of the lackadaisical landscaping looter will live on.

If you have any information on who the woman in the video might be, call the Minneapolis Police Department. The video was infrared, so the dress she is wearing could be any color.

There are a few things you can do to better protect your landscaping from theft and vandalism: Make sure your larger plants are secured with stakes, talk to your neighbors about spotting suspicious activity and of course, you can install motion detector lights that sometimes scare thieves away.

A Minneapolis man catches a woman pulling up his landscaping lights on his home surveillance system.
Photo: Mark Kaplan

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