Call it a case of mistaken plant identity.
A 15-year-old boy climbed into Angela Cartwright's kitchen window thinking to make off with a marijuana plant, but instead the young thief was actually stealing a potted tomato plant, a sheriff's arrest report shows.
As he was running from Cartwright's house on Carmen Avenue near Holly Hill on Feb. 10 just after 7 a.m., the teen even yelled at Cartwright, "See, I have one of your pot plants!" the arrest report states.
Cartwright had arrived at her residence that morning after leaving her 6-year-old son off at the school bus stop. When she walked into her home she saw a teenager whose torso was inside her kitchen window and the other half of his body was hanging outside, the report shows.
When Cartwright yelled, "Hey!" the suspect jumped back and bolted, the potted tomato plant in hand.
"I chased him and I yelled out, "You stupid little brat, it's a tomato plant!" Cartwright said Thursday.
The teen gave Cartwright the slip, but Wednesday morning as Cartwright and a friend walked Cartwright's son to the bus stop, they spotted the teenager a second time, the report shows.
The boy was wearing the same clothes Cartwright had seen on him five days earlier, she said.
"I said to my friend, 'That's him,' " Cartwright said. "It looked like he was going to hide from me, but then he stayed there."
According to the report and Cartwright, the boy, who The Daytona Beach News-Journal is not identifying because of his age, admitted to stealing the tomato plant, valued at under $5.
"He seemed like a nice kid," Cartwright said. "It almost seemed as if he wanted to get caught."
While Cartwright, her friend and the teen waited for a deputy to arrive at the bus stop, the 35-year-old mother took the opportunity to give a lecture.
"I gave him the 'mother lecture,' " Cartwright said. "He listened and I told him he should be in school."
The teen was charged with unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling, his first offense, the report states.
When interviewed, the young suspect told a lawman the same thing -- he broke into Cartwright's house thinking he was getting away with a marijuana plant, the report shows.
"It wasn't pot, it was just Walmart tomatoes," Cartwright said with a laugh.
The teen was taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach.
February 17, 2012 12:50 AM
By LYDA LONGA
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Teen after pot steals tomato plant instead near Holly Hill