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Video: Guy in a Prius Caught Swiping Succulents from a Sidewalk in Highland Park

1:26 PM PDT on August 4, 2021

[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]n Tuesday, video of a man allegedly stealing a piece of a large succulent from a patch of greenery outside the Los Angeles Police Museum on York Blvd in Highland Park, resurfaced on Instagram, sparking conversations about gentrification. Originally posted on NextDoor a week ago, the video shows a man loading the succulent into the trunk of a Toyota Prius before he nervously removes what appears to be a pair of gloves and hops in the driver's seat.

“It is not ok for anyone to steal plants because you think it’s on public property,” @HighlandPark90042 said in an Instagram (IG) post on Tuesday that included the video. “The guys strait-up (sic) put on gloves and dug up these plants from in front of the @losangelespolicemuseum and stole public property,” the IG account alleged.

“Gentrification activities,” one user commented under the post.

“Them car payments have him stealing,” another joked.

“Of course he’s in a Prius.”

“Happens all over the neighborhood!! Sum (sic) go as far as reaching into people’s property!!” Another user claimed.

Although it’s not uncommon for Angelenos to take a small cutting from plants within the public right of way, digging up a whole succulent in broad daylight is taking things to a questionable level. “It's literally right next to the plant store too lol,” one IG user pointed out that PLANTA Nursery, a Mexican-owned plant shop on York Boulevard is just a few doors down.

For some, the video was a painful reminder of the rapid gentrification taking place in the neighborhood. “Pinche hipsters have no shame. All this thing’s happening since they came in 😂,” an Instagram user complained. According to Zillow.com, home prices have increased more than 20 percent in just the last year in Highland Park. The average home is now over a million dollars.

Less than a mile away from the succulents on York Boulevard, on Figueroa Street, Compass Real Estate recently moved into a building that was formerly a Mexican-owned mattress shop. A block away, another luxury real estate company took over a tattoo parlor that had been in the neighborhood for more than 15 years. “Fuckin hipsters and their entitlement 🤦🏻‍♂️,” one user commented under @HighlandPark90042’s IG post.

While the space in between the sidewalk and street (officially known as a parkway) is considered public property, the property owner adjacent to the parkway is generally responsible for its design and maintenance in residential areas. In most other areas, Section 62.169 (a) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code prohibits people from planting, removing, destroying, cutting, pruning, or defacing “any tree, shrub, or plant in any street in the City without first obtaining a permit to do so.” The parkway in front of the police museum is zoned for commercial use.

Calls to the Los Angeles Police Museum this morning went to voicemail. The Bureau of Public Works, which maintains sidewalks in the City of L.A., told L.A. TACO: "A permit is required to remove plants, trees or shrubs from parkways per the municipal code LAMC 62.169. " According to public works, "no permit was issued" at the location. The department is looking into the matter.

Looking back in time on Google Maps, it appears that the succulents in front of the museum, across the street from Coco’s Bakery, have been around since at least 2009. “These plants were put there in order to beautify the street scrape (sic) In front of the museum. This is the same thing as going to a state park and cutting down a tree, you simply don’t do this kind of sh*t If anyone knows this guy tell him he needs to replant what he stole and make a big donation to the museum,” @HighlandPark90042 said on Tuesday.

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