Thieves Targeting Cactuses In Palm Desert

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) - Palm Desert has a prickly problem.

The city has had to deal with a wave of cactus thefts and officials say nearly $20,000-worth of the succulents have been stolen in recent months.

A few years ago officials started switching the upscale city's lush lawns to more native plants, but in the last six months saw many of them stolen. The city's visitor's center had 50 cactuses stolen in a single night.

The biggest prize for thieves is the golden barrel, which can be worth as much as $800 in its bigger incarnations.

Surveillance cameras have been installed in some cactus-heavy areas, and authorities are planning to implant tracking microchips in some of the more valuable plants.
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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-08-12-08 0556EDT


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