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Plant Thefts at Local Nature Park Drawing Concerns

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HARLINGEN – Thieves are looking to take the nature away from a park in Harlingen.

Volunteers at the Hugh Ramsey Park say cactus to trees recently planted have gone missing.

These plants are planted by volunteers and paid for by either donations or out-of-pocket.

They tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS they’re hoping something is done quickly so their hard work doesn't go to waste.

"We come out here because we enjoy it first of all but it's still frustrating," said Linda Butcher, a volunteer with the Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society.

Butcher is one of many volunteers who help plant new life in the park.

"It's not just stealing from us. It's stealing from everybody that comes to the park because if people take the plants people can't enjoy them," she says.

Butcher pointed out several areas to our crews where tree and plants use to be but are no longer there.

She says even the tools they use at the park became targets of theft.

"Most of the tools now are at my house. I keep them and then when somebody needs them, they give me a call and I bring them out here," she explains.

The city of Harlingen says they are working to prevent this issue.

"These two volunteer groups have spent a lot of hours out there you know working on the park, and so I understand their frustration," says Harlingen Parks Director Javier Mendez.

He said they are looking to increase enforcement and add more security.

"Either gates or barricades or something where they can't go in dig something up and remove it," he says.

Butcher says she doesn't want to return to the park just to see all their hard work gone.

Mendez is urging people to report any suspicious activity not just at Hugh Ramsey, but at all parks to either the parks and recreation department or police.

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