Story Tools

Date of Issue: August 13, 2008

Orchid thieves steal last remaining items from Davis fire

Pa Davis with what is left of her orchid garden. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Kent and “Pa” Davis of Holmes Beach thought they had at least salvaged a cherished collection of orchid plants from the April 17 fire that destroyed their home on 58th Street.

Alas, there is a valuable market for orchids, as the couple learned last week when thieves stole the plants that had survived the fire and been carefully nurtured back to a healthy existence by Pa.

 Neighbors of the Davis house said that on Sunday, July 26, they observed a female who was of medium build with waist-length, dark brown hair walking alongside the house and carrying some pots containing the orchids.

Believing the woman was part of the demolition team scheduled to start clearing the rubble remaining from the fire, the neighbors thought no more of the incident.

On Monday, July 27, the same woman was observed at the rear of the burned-out home. Again, a neighbor thought the woman was with the demolition crew.

When Pa went to water her plants on Tuesday, July 28, she discovered the orchids were missing.

“They were not visible from the road,” said Pa. “I think there is a good chance someone saw them from a boat and returned to the property to take them.”

The woman with the plants was last seen driving a full-size, dark blue pickup truck.

“After everything that has happened, I’m really didn’t need this,” said Pa. “I spent five years watering those orchids to bring them to life. I love orchids, so I guess I’ll start over again.”

Pa’s collection of orchids was valued at just $750.

Several years ago, thieves stole about $4,000 worth of orchids being grown at a house on Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.

The owner of the plants later learned that there is a major demand for orchids in cities such as Miami and New York, particularly for rare species of the flowering plant.

One particular orchid can bring up to $1,000 from a black-market dealer, the owner learned.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis are offering a reward of $100 for anyone who can provide them with information leading to the location and return of their orchids.

Call Kent or Pa Davis at 941-778-3086 with information on the orchids.