Caught on cam: Someone is stealing the plants outside this South Surrey restaurant
VANCOUVER -- A Metro Vancouver restaurant says it's been targeted by thieves again.
The family-run Afghan Kitchen in South Surrey says it's the third time this year that someone has stolen the plants on its patio.
One of the restaurant's owners, Zabi Sarwari, says the first theft happened in mid-April, right after the patio had been spruced up to welcome back customers following the COVID-19 pandemic shut down.
"It looked like it may have been some kids playing around," Sarwari said, "but two to three weeks after the first incident we noticed our flowers were taken again."
After the second theft, the family installed an exterior camera, which recorded the third theft shortly after midnight on Aug. 3.
The video shows a vehicle driving up. A woman can be seen getting out of the car, and grabbing some of the plants. She puts them in the car while a man sits in the passenger seat. The woman then goes back a second time to uproot more plants.
"You could see the soil actually leave a trail from where I'm standing to her car," Sarwari said in an interview outside the restaurant Monday.
He says the restaurant has already been hit hard by the pandemic, and the flowers represented so much more than simply external decoration.
"It's all the hard work of our family, as well as our colleagues, and the community that supports us as well," Sarwari said.
The owners have posted the security footage online, in hopes someone recognizes the thieves or the vehicle. The incident has also been reported to Surrey RCMP.
"We can't see from that video what the licence plate is," says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko, but the vehicle itself might be a giveaway: "It is a very identifiable car, a unique colour."
Since the latest theft, loyal customers have been dropping off flowers at Afghan Kitchen.
Sarwari is grateful for the support, and has this message for whoever has his flowers: "This is the time to be kind to one another, respectful to one another, not to go around and steal people's flowers."