CRIME

Florida landscaper arrested after allegedly stealing exotic cactus

A Florida landscaper was arrested Wednesday after authorities said he chopped down and stole an exotic caucus from the front of a home and strapped it on the roof of his car.

Police in Surfside, located north of Miami Beach, said 31-year-old Rafael Tinoco-Diaz was spotted last week by a passing officer placing the prickly plant on top of his vehicle.

“She noticed that the subject was attaching a cactus plant to the roof of his vehicle,” Surfside Police Detective Marian Cruz told WSVN. “This is not something we see all the time.”

Police said Tinoco-Diaz told the officer who spotted him he was a landscaper.

“[He said] he collects cactus plants, and that was his excuse,” Cruz said. "I say he just wanted some money.”

Cruz said the plant is worth $500, and she was still astonished by the brazen theft.

“Very gutsy, actually, to do something like this in the front lawn of someone’s house,” she told WSVN.

The homeowner said he first thought it was a joke when he answered the door and cops told him someone took his cactus.

“This is what’s concerning to me, is that there are children in the house,” Shlomo Danzinger told WSVN. “How do I know the next time he’s not going to see something through the window and decide he’s just going to go in and take it, or maybe think nobody’s here and decide to walk in?”

Read more from WSVN.