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Green thumb caught red-handed

Palmdale man allegedly tries to steal palm trees

Posted: May 1, 2009 10:12 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Palm trees along an Interstate 5 offramp in Valencia apparently looked too good to pass up Friday for one Palmdale motorist.

The man pulled to the side of the I-5 Magic Mountain Parkway ramp on his way home from work in the Santa Clarita Valley and dug up three Mexican fan palm trees to use in landscaping his yard, said Lt. Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

He was in the process of digging up a fourth when a passer-by spotted him shortly after 2 p.m. and called the Sheriff's Station, the lieutenant said.

The man told deputies he drives the stretch of road daily and wanted a few of the 3-foot-tall palms for his backyard, Lewis said.

The man had three of the trees in the back of his truck when deputies arrived and arrested him. The value of the trees was put at $1,700.

The alleged horticultural bandit was identified as 54-year-old Nicolas Emmanuel.

He was charged with grand theft and will appear in Santa Clarita Superior Court on Tuesday, Lewis said.


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