‘Stolen’ cycad is back at home in Ashby

Andrew West’s wife Vi Nguyen with the well-travelled plant.
Andrew West’s wife Vi Nguyen with the well-travelled plant.

IT was allegedly stolen from the front porch of an Ashby home, but last week it made a mysterious reappearance at the edge of the driveway.

A 46-year-old Sorrento man has been charged with the theft of a $900 plant with prehistoric origins.

The plant’s owner Andrew West was “astounded” to find his cycad, missing since October 28, had been returned to him about three weeks later.

Cycads can be traced back further than the dinosaur ages with a history of more than 200 million years, according to the Palm and Cycads Societies of Australia.

Police have attributed the valuable plant’s return to a vast social media response.

Mr West released a number of CCTV images of the alleged theft online, as well as speaking with the Times, in an appeal for information.

The footage showed the large plant being loaded on to a trailer and driven away in the middle of the day.

The Times article reached more than 13,500 people on Facebook and attracted more than 100 comments.

Last week, Mr West was surprised to find the plant had found its way back to the front of his home.

“I was totally astounded they had returned it to me and I was so happy to have it back,” he said.

“That’s all I wanted; it had been at my home for five years.

“It was in a neglected condition; it had been removed from the pot and lacked water.

“I am really not sure why they had taken it to leave it in this condition.”

He was “amazed” at how many people responded to his plight on Facebook and “speechless” at the speed with which the incident was resolved.

“I would like to say thank you to all the people that supported its return, especially the guys who identified the car on the freeway from the media coverage,” he said.

Wanneroo police officer Josh Egan-Reid said the plant “miraculously turned up” the day police had requested the accused come to the station for an interview.

But, interestingly, he said CCTV showed it was not the alleged offender who returned it.