Jackson County

Jackson County business owner says woman illegally ‘borrowed’ her plants — twice

A Jackson County business owner says this woman stole her plants from in front of her business in May. Then, she says she stole them again June 5.
A Jackson County business owner says this woman stole her plants from in front of her business in May. Then, she says she stole them again June 5. Courtesy Jessica Hightower

The third time is not necessarily the charm — at least if you’re planning on stealing flowers from Jessica Hightower, that is.

Hightower says she’s been busy lately trying to get her new real estate office, Exit Real Estate on Highway 613 in Jackson County, ready for business. However, she said she could be getting more work done if someone would quit stealing the plants and flowers in front of her new office.

“I bought a building for my real estate office and I’ve been doing some landscaping in the front of it,” Hightower said. “I’ve planted some flowers and put out potted plants — I was landscaping because I want it to look nice; people say I’m crazy for opening up a business on Highway 613, but I want to make Escatawpa a better place.”

Hightower said the “plant bandit” first struck her place of business in May.

“On May 19, my plants were stolen,” she said. “I was able to get the license (tag) number of the person who took the plants and I filed a police report — I didn’t press charges because I didn’t want to be ugly about it because I’m a kind person.”

So, Hightower said she did what any hopeful entrepreneur would, she landscaped her business for the second time, choosing to forgive the theft but not forget it.

“I enhanced my security system and got more cameras — just in case,” she said. “My husband also tied down the hanging plants so they could not be removed.”

I was landscaping because I want it to look nice; people say I’m crazy for opening up a business on Highway 613, but I want to make Escatawpa a better place.

Jessica Hightower

She said she remembers looking in her review mirror on Monday night and seeing her plants as she drove to Walmart. But when she returned, the plants were once again gone.

“I was hot this time,” Hightower said. “I called my husband and said, ‘That ----- stole my plants again.’ So, we immediately checked the tapes and there she was — the same person in the same car from May — taking my plants again, but she couldn’t get the hanging plants down this time.”

Hightower also called the police.

“So, the police show up and there she is — coming around the block like she just couldn’t stand it because she couldn’t get the hanging plants,” Hightower said. “We think she was coming back a third time to try and get the hanging plants.”

The police brought the person caught on camera back to Hightower’s business.

“She only gave me back two of my plants and they were badly damaged,” Hightower said.

And why did the thief take the plants?

“She said she was trying to sell her house and she was only borrowing the plants,” Hightower said.

Hightower said is pressing formal charges on Tuesday and that an arrest is expected in connection with the alleged theft. She said she’s ready to do the landscaping again — for the third time.

“Oh heck yeah, I’m going to do it again because this isn’t going to stop me, it’s just a pain in the butt,” Hightower said. “I’m not obsessed with watching cameras, but I just don’t like a thief.”

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