Man wants "plantnappers" who stole juniper bush from his front yard to confess

Gould's five-year-old at the scene of the crime.
Gould's five-year-old at the scene of the crime.
courtesy Sam Gould

A few days ago, Sam Gould planted a juniper bush in the front yard of his home, just west of Powderhorn Park. But Thursday morning, when he was walking up to his house with his three kids, the plant was gone.

In its place was only a gaping hole in the lawn. Their juniper, Gould's children realized right away, had been "plantnapped."

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"We all just thought it was weird," Gould says. "It was a plant." So Gould and the family decided to offer the plantnapper a way to confess to the odd crime: Gould took a piece of cardboard, penned a note to the thief, and stuck it at the scene.

"Our five year old say: 'Whoever stole our juniper bush must be sorry,'" the message reads. "Tell your side of this plantnapping. (Toll-free) 1-888-339-4498."

Gould posted a photo of his son, the message, and the juniper on Facebook, where a few friends quickly jumped in with stolen plant stories of their own. They also pointed out that the hotline Gould had rigged up could function as a confessional for anything, not just plant thievery. Gould hasn't yet gotten any messages, but is open to the idea. "It's crossed my mind that, wouldn't this be a great way to start a confession hotline for the whole neighborhood," he says.

Gould's not new to this kind of project: he's an artist, and the head of the Red76 collaborative. Much of his work, like a community hearth project planned for late summer, is plotted over months, which makes this kind of impromptu installation a fun diversion. "It's like sketching," Gould says.

As for now, the whereabouts of the Gould juniper remain unknown. "Some people have suggested that it's being used for locally-sourced organic bathtub gin, like Prohibition-era hooch," Gould says. "I like that idea. But it was probably just some guy walking home super drunk at 4 in the morning, like, 'That was just planted; I could take that home.'"

So, will Gould plant another juniper to fill the grassless spot on his lawn? "I haven't given it too much thought," he says. "I'm still in mourning."

h/t @Rhubarbarism

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