NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bizarre crime catches people in a normally quiet Bellevue neighborhood off guard.
A thief is caught on a home security camera digging up and stealing two Japanese Maple Trees from the front yard of a home in the Poplar Creek Trace community. The crime happened around 11 p.m. Saturday. Word of the crime got people talking in the neighborhood, and on social media.
“I am shocked!” said Julie Powell, who has lived in Bellevue for six years. “I couldn’t believe people would dig up the trees in the middle of the night.”
Powell has her own Japanese Maple Tree in the front of her house. She says the trees initially cost $100 or less, but as they grow, can be worth thousands of dollars.
Other neighbors speculated the thief stole the trees to replant them in another location, or sell them.
Japanese Maple Trees come in a variety of colors and sizes. Several are planted throughout the neighborhood.
“I would be mortified if I came out here, and my tree was gone.” said Powell. “I take care of it.”
Powell said generally crime was very low in the neighborhood, and most neighbors have security cameras and look out for one another.
Some in Bellevue said as the area continues to grow, it should have its own police precinct. Metro Council Member Dave Rosenberg, who represents District 35, said plans are in the works for a new precinct.
“Council Member Sheri Weiner and I have been advocating for an additional police precinct to cover the Bellevue area,” said Rosenberg. “It makes sense to have dedicated police to cover the southwest corner of the county.”
The Metro Police Department West Precinct currently covers Bellevue.
Rosenberg said overall crime rates remain steady or have decreased slightly. However, as the area continues to grow, residents need to stay alert.
“Most of the crime you see happening is people opening unlocked cars and rifling through belongings.”
Neighbors said the tree thief serves as a reminder to look out for one another.
Rosenberg said it will take time before a new police precinct will happen. However, he has had conversations with Mayor David Briley’s office, and the Metro Police Department about the process.