Advice needed on catching "plant stealing thief"


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takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#1
I think it's common for people who stay in HDB flat to have plants along the corridor.

We have been doing that for many years without trouble, until recently... "a thief" appeared...

My parents, getting old in age, have more or less retired and spend most of their time at home. so growing plants and taking care of them has become their main hobby for their free time.

Few months ago, it started when this thief started stealing our first pot of Orchid(1st pot). It was taken away in the middle of the night while we were deep in sleep.

Being caught unaware, obviously there is nothing we could have done to the situation.

My parents, being tolerant and soft-hearted people, decided to do nothing against it. So... they bought a new pot of Orchid(2nd pot) and this time round, had it secured to the stand by securing cable-tie to it(We have our pots of plants on a 1m high stand). This time round, he/she strucked again at midnight, and traces of the cable tied being "cut off" were left behind. It is now very obvious this thief came prepared, and also must have checked out our plants before-hand.

This time round, i suggested putting a surveillance camera. But still.. my mum being a kind person, believed its not likely he will steal again. So all she did was to bring this 3rd pot of Orchid into the house every night before going to bed. To our amazement, yesterday the thief struck at around 10am. Yes, daytime, morning.

This time, he/she didn't steal the whole pot of orchid, but rather broke off 5 stems of it which had flowers bloomed on it, practically destroying the whole plant which now looks bare with severely broken stems. It is pretty much an act of vengeance against us from stopping him/her from stealing the plant.

As i'm typing this, i've come to realise in between the theft of the 1st and 2nd pot, he/she actually stole another mini pot of Rose.

I can't imagine who on earth can be so cruel and wicked, when we have been a peaceful and friendly family to our neighbours. I am sure we have no enemies whatsoever.

From here, i have decided to install a spy/surveillance camera or sort of thing but i have no idea what kind of setup is needed since we have never thought of setting up anything like this in our peaceful home for the past years.

Hopefully, there will be people here who can advise me what kind of setup i can get and where to get. Preferably something inconspicuous. My room window has a good view of our plants so i'm thinking of probably something like pinhole camera or something like that. Budget is possibly around $300 but this is flexible. I will be looking at something that has recording function and this camera should be attached to my PC which is near to the window as well. Light is rather dim, around ISO 3200 and F2.8 1/50 for a proper exposure of the person's face.

Appreciate if anyone who is knowledgeable in this aspect advise me on what surveillance/spy camera i should get, where to get, and how much it is.

Thanks for reading :)
 

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kei1309

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Apr 12, 2010
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#2
go to Mustafa. they sell spycams off the shelves. they'll also show you how to use them.

btw... i think this is no a simple case of theft. it's more like someone is out to irritate your family.
 

s1221ljc

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May 7, 2006
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#3
I came across this kind of situation before. Its indeed irritating & frustrating. There are 2 likely reasons why that person is stealing your nice plants. 1st becos the plants are so pretty that they are irresistable & that person want to use them to beautify his own home, especially now that CNY is approaching. 2nd reason is that person is stealing them to sell them away for some money (each orchid plant cost abt $12-15). My suggestion is just replenish the plants & to put up a notice/warning sign for the culprit to stop. If the problem goes away, then most likely its due to the 1st reason. If the problem continues & happen 5x & more, then its certainly due to the latter 2nd reason. In that case then you can consider implementing a survellience system which cost time & money. You can get these easily at SLS. Connect camera to PC & take snapshots rather than video to save HD space. For some setups, you can even view your home over the internet in real time.

From my own experience, this kind of problem often just goes away by itself after sometime (it cannot continue forever) so I just leave it & save on costs & time... And for me I would just set up a fake but realistic looking camera in a strategic position in my house/near the windows just so that person notice it, & get scared away instead :)
 

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zeehamzah

Senior Member
Feb 8, 2011
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#4
Don't we need any permit to install cameras from the town council etc?

For record purposes, I think its better you head down to the police stn and make a report and update them whenever it happens.

my 2cents. don't flame me. :p
 

s1221ljc

New Member
May 7, 2006
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#5
Aiyoh not installed in public area lah. If outside the house, most probably the guy will steal the camera away too :)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#6
some time ago, a youngster came and steal the slippers, from outside my door, and also from my neighbors.
I get a visitor chime place at my door, so he get scare off and never return.
 

takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#7
Thanks for the replies and suggestions.

I will be installing the camera from my bedroom window as mentioned, since my window has a good view of the plants. I would try not to alert the thief by putting an obvious camera because i am pretty much determined to catch him/her. I do not think the police will bother much with such cases so this thought was pushed to the back of my mind.

As for the chimes, my bad i forgot to point out the layout of my corridor. My corridor is the older type of HDB whereby the corridor is a long stretch and you have like 10 units across and you can freely walk from the start till the end. The start and end is also where the lift lobbies are.

My unit is right in the centre of this long stretch. As such, people from the right will pass by my house if they are going to the left lobby, and vice versa. Therefore, it is probably going to chime more than 20 times a day should that be installed.(or maybe i could turn it on only at night before going to bed). Considering we are dealing with an intelligent thief, he/she might have notice it during the day and come at night, avoiding it and tamper with it, then take action again.
 

Sep 17, 2008
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#8
drop a few centipedes into the pots... hmm... will be damn interesting. just take care when u are handling the plants urself.
 

bonrya

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2010
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In a mobile cage
#9
Install a ir CCTV like most other people that have a problem with their neighbors. :) so many surveillance experts avail these days if you look around. Try yellow pages..
 

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photoart

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Feb 21, 2009
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#10
There's a saying: Prevention is better then cure

some already gave very good suggestions like installing a fake camera and putting up warning signs. This way, it can prevent crime. Rather then have the stuff stolen then rectify the problem, it's be more efficient to prevent it in the first place.

By installing a real camera, the time and costs are way higher than the cost of the plants itself. The thief could also come wearing a hat/cap so you might not recongise him/her

The traffic police could have hidden those speed cameras on expressways to catch those speed drivers but choose to put up speeding signs and large cameras. This way they they can prevent people from speeding instead catching them after they already sped. By then maybe the accident would have already happened and lives are already lost
 

ricohflex

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Feb 24, 2005
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#11
Need to ask this:

Is TS family placing too many flower pots and monopolising the balcony which is a public space. i.e. were they the unreasonable party to begin with?
So the people who "stole" the flower pots may just be expressing their sense of injustice over this.

Know why I mention this?
Some time ago had a strange lady neighbour on other storey who planted flowers and plants all over the balcony area until it was difficult to walk and not satisfied with that, she put more potted plants onto the staircase (which is supposed to be fire escape and not to be blocked under the law). Took some warning by the authorities for her to stop that. My guess is that the lady was strongly hinting to her husband that she wants to live in landed property with her own big garden and not getting it, want to make a public statement to pressure her poor hubby. Guess it is not easy to satisfy material demands of the spouse.
 

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takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#12
There's a saying: Prevention is better then cure

some already gave very good suggestions like installing a fake camera and putting up warning signs. This way, it can prevent crime. Rather then have the stuff stolen then rectify the problem, it's be more efficient to prevent it in the first place.

By installing a real camera, the time and costs are way higher than the cost of the plants itself. The thief could also come wearing a hat/cap so you might not recongise him/her

The traffic police could have hidden those speed cameras on expressways to catch those speed drivers but choose to put up speeding signs and large cameras. This way they they can prevent people from speeding instead catching them after they already sped. By then maybe the accident would have already happened and lives are already lost
Maybe my posts were not indicative enough. I am not looking to prevent further theft. I want to catch this thief.
 

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takafan

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2008
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#13
Need to ask this:

Is TS family placing too many flower pots and monopolising the balcony which is a public space. i.e. were they the unreasonable party to begin with?
So the people who "stole" the flower pots may just be expressing their sense of injustice over this.

Know why I mention this?
Some time ago had a strange lady neighbour on other storey who planted flowers and plants all over the balcony area until it was difficult to walk and not satisfied with that, she put more potted plants onto the staircase (which is supposed to be fire escape and not to be blocked under the law). Took some warning by the authorities for her to stop that. My guess is that the lady was strongly hinting to her husband that she wants to live in landed property with her own big garden and not getting it, want to make a public statement to pressure her poor hubby. Guess it is not easy to satisfy material demands of the spouse.
Hi, thanks for asking. As a matter of fact, we only put a single row of plants, towards my house side unlike some others who put both at the parapet side as well as their house's outer walls.

Our plants are neatly arranged on a custom-made stand around 1m tall, and there is sufficient space even to ride a mountain bike across. They are not big pots of plants. The pots are roughly 15cm-20cm in diameter.
We have been putting the flowers in this manner for over 15 years and never received any comments or complaints.

We highly suspect the theft is out of jealousy, and not bad blood.

We are on good terms with our neighbours too.
 

Lighthouse

Deregistered
Aug 22, 2005
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#14
I will install a dummy camera and run a cable into the house to make it more convincing. Cheapest and most efficient way.
 

Jan 6, 2006
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#15
plant expensive plant in-door... save all costs and don even need to think how to catch the thief... even if you catch the thief, the most he/she will get scolded and 'pai-sey' only.. worst if he/she deny previous case are not by them?
 

s1221ljc

New Member
May 7, 2006
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#17
Maybe my posts were not indicative enough. I am not looking to prevent further theft. I want to catch this thief.
This situation is like I said irritating & frustrating, but it is really a small matter but you seem incenced & determined to catch him/her. So what if you manage to capture some videos or photos of the act at night, its may not be clear enough for positive identification. The culprit wont be so dumb as to show his face to your CCTV. Are you going to scour your neighbourhood if he's not anyone familiar? Are you going to confront the person if he/she is someone you know. Please dont report this to the police becos its laughable, complain to the town council perhaps if you like. But it will all just create more problems, more headaches, sour relationships, besides spending time & money on this. If its defacing or damaging your property yes by all means do so, but over some pots of plants? I am beginning to think that its not jealousy but anger, over some things you can reflect upon. Anyway its your call.
 

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kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
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#19
LOL just lonely women looking for attention..

the second lady is totally ridiculous. probably couldn't find a husband so she tried to seduce HDB executives to visit her.

anyways if you analyze each photo... you'll realize that the flowers in her house seem to be fake. so much for being a plant lover... probably just wants some hot A&F model to trim her plants :bsmilie:
 

#20
Maybe my posts were not indicative enough. I am not looking to prevent further theft. I want to catch this thief.
Maybe you should get a few strong friends armed with big sticks spending a few days hiding and waiting for his appearance.

Good luck!
 

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