Three Joshua trees stolen from Yucca Valley town park

“I don’t know whether there’s a black market for Joshua trees,” a San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

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Miley Cyrus posted photos sitting in a Joshua Tree on April 2, 2019. Many criticized her for posing on the fragile desert plant. Wochit, Wochit

Three Joshua trees were dug up and taken from a Yucca Valley community park and authorities are looking for those who used heavy equipment to harvest them.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said on Friday that the theft at Remembrance Park off  29 Palms Highway occurred between April 4 and April 5, but was reported on Wednesday afternoon.

It wasn’t clear where the town would purchase replacements, but several nurseries listed Joshua trees for sale. Seeds also are available at some online sites.

“I never thought of that,” Bachman said. “You don’t think of replacing them because nobody ever moves them. When you build a home you build around them.”

Joshua trees can be seen at Joshua Tree National Park. (Photo: James W. Cornett/Special to DESERT magazine)

“I don’t know whether there’s a black market for Joshua trees. Clearly they are not inexpensive. That could be the motivation for taking them. They do have value,” she said.

Joshua trees are a protected species in California. They have been in the news recently thanks to a government shutdown and then a celebrity.

The partial government shutdown late last year left Joshua Tree National Park open to vandals and some trees were damaged either before or during the shutdown. People were seen hanging clothes lines between trees and placing holiday lights on them.

Then, earlier this month entertainer Miley Cyrus posted images of herself climbing in a Joshua tree on her Instagram account. After online criticism, she took down the images.

Joshua trees aren’t actually trees. Rather, they are a variety of the yucca plant. They grow about 2 inches a year for the first several years before slowing down to about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches after.

Bachman said anyone with information on the stolen Joshua trees could call the sheriff’s Morongo Basin station at 760-366-4180.

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Post time: Apr-15-2019
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