Officers with the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department have charged three people for stealing Venus Flytraps.
The Boiling Springs Police Department is working with the Nature conservancy with replanting the Venus Flytraps.
According to police, between 200 and 300 Venus Flytraps were recovered from the suspects.
BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WECT) – Officers with the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department have charged three people for stealing Venus Flytraps.
According to police, a witness walking their dog saw three people acting suspicious Tuesday evening near Barclay Road. As the witness approached, the group threw a bag that contained several Venus Flytraps in the edge of the woods.
The witness called police, who were then able to stop one of the suspects near the area where the bag of Venus Flytraps was found.
According to police, between 200 and 300 plants were recovered from the suspects.
Myra Lee Lawson, 36 of Shallotte, Betty Ann Hill, 55 of Bolivia, and William Lewis Riley, 66 of Bolivia, were all charged.
The Boiling Springs Police Department is working with the Nature conservancy with replanting the Venus Flytraps. Chief Brad Shirley says they will have officers patrol the area, to prevent something like this from happening again.
He said this is not the first time something like this has happened. He said that poachers have cut up the ground before to take the plants and then turned around and sold them on the black market, at yard sales or online for up to $7 a piece.
While the plants in Boiling Spring Lakes will be able to be replanted, that's not always the case.
Last May, 1,500 Venus Fly Traps were stolen from Alderman Park in Wilmington. The plants were never recovered. Caretakers at the park say it's taken about $8,000 of donations and 11 months to plant Venus Fly traps to go in the place of some of the stolen ones.
Daniel Sheret said so far about 600 Venus Fly Traps have been planted. He said it's extremely important to preserve the plants in the wild, because they only naturally grow in about a 70 mile radius of Wilmington.
"There are only 35,000 left in the wild," Sheret said. "This is a naturalized garden which means people, like myself, care for it. This is it, this is the only place, that we can really see them in their native habitat."
The fly traps planted at Alderman Park in place of the stolen ones were cloned from samples of the plants left behind, that way the park will remain as natural as possible. He also said that seeds from the Venus Fly Traps were scattered throughout the garden.
Sheret said students will be planting another 400 Venus Fly Traps next week.