More than 100 lilac bushes were planted by volunteers in the city of Waterbury at the start of spring, but some of them were stolen this past Mother’s Day weekend.
It was months of work for volunteers to make sure the flowers were planted properly. On Monday, all but 10 of them were empty holes and piles of dirt.
Officials said 111 flowers were planted at Waterbury's Fulton Park on April 29 with more than 100 volunteers including the mayor and chief of police.
"It's going to be really nice once everything grows,” Andre Michaud, of Waterbury, said. “It's just the vandalism now pulling them up. It's just sad."
The Waterbury Historic Overlook Community Club oversaw the project. The club's president, Michael Salvio, discovered that 10 of the plants had been dug up over the Mother's Day weekend.
"When I walked through here Sunday morning, I was very disheartened, to say the least,” Salvio said.
Salvio said the 111 plants had cost $6,000. The ones that were destroyed or removed were an estimated $1,200.
"My husband and I walk through here every day,” Michaud said. “And you know we see the park as it is, but now they're ripping everything out and that's it."
There are 34 different varieties of lilac that were planted and they range in price from $45 to $200.
The flowers were also meticulously placed in the exact location of where they were when a lilac grove was started at the park in the 1920's.
“They need some security to guard them flowers because those flowers are expensive too and they're nice they are really nice,” Boyse James, of Waterbury, said.
Salvio said the neighborhood is watching and the plants will be replaced even if they have to go back to six different nurseries throughout the state.
“Hope the plants went to their moms for mother’s day instead of just destroyed or thrown away,” Salvio said. “We know that we are going to find the people who did this.”
The historic overlook community club said they've already gotten some tips from community members and detectives at the police department are working hard to make sure they catch the culprit of who stole these flowers.
In the meanwhile, they will be keeping a closer watch on the park.
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