In Crime-afornia, thieves are stealing artificial lawns while citizens get kicked in the grass

In Crime-afornia, thieves are stealing artificial lawns while citizens get kicked in the grass

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Crews from Field Turf are removing old artificial turf at Birdsall park in Temecula and replacing it. (Aaron Claverie photo, SCNG)

When you go to the dentist, you might have a number of things extracted … molars, wisdom teeth, and, of course, your dignity, when the novocaine shot makes its first appearance.  However, there’s probably one thing you wouldn’t expect to see yanked out at a dental office … the lawn.

That’s right, I said the lawn. As in the thing children play on, dogs lie on and trashy people park on.

The lawn.

But that’s exactly what happened to one Southern California mom and pop dental office — because, you see, in Crime-afornia, not even our government-subsided plastic grass is safe from the barbarians at the gate.

Recently, the Hometown dental office in Hesperia had its artificial grass stolen after someone came in the middle of the day and measured it before sending a crew of people to lift it over the weekend.

Kara Sweeney, the office director and wife of the dentist, James A. Sweeney, DDS, told me that the timing of the theft came as a particular punch to the gut, because it happened at the same time that the couple were pouring their savings into renovations to improve their family business.

“Our office manager saw it and assumed that I asked him to come out [and measure the grass] as part of the renovations we were doing. Then that weekend a neighbor across the street saw three men pulling the grass up. Apparently a police officer stopped them with a pedestrian check and one of them took off into the desert. The police officer shooed them away, I guess, but they returned that evening to finish stealing the grass! I guess they already had their measurements and knew it would be the piece for their project.  We reported it to the police and I am hoping the pedestrian check helps them find who did it,” Sweeney explained.

Apparently, “taking off into the desert” after being confronted by the cops didn’t raise enough red flags to prompt further questioning. But with Propositions 47, 57 and AB 109 essentially giving criminals a free pass for crimes exactly like this, I guess you can’t really blame the police. They have bigger fish to fry than chasing “John Wilkes Tooth” through the Mojave Desert over some stolen Astroturf.

I asked Sweeney if she had any evidence that might be helpful for the police. She told me, “We did have cameras and they came and stole them too. We actually watched the man climb the ladder and snip the wire … that being said we are putting better new ones in and hopefully it will deter people. It’s an older neighborhood but doesn’t seem particularly scary to me or anything like that. It’s sad. I feel like with all the effort they should just get a real job … I think they would sleep better at night.”

Hesperia Sheriff’s Station service specialist Edgar Moran said that no arrests have been made, but the department is actively looking for three suspects, and is trying to make contact with the eyewitness.

Hopefully they will soon get in touch with the neighbor, and she’ll give them the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth, so these thieves can be brought to justice.When I asked Sweeney what she plans on doing to pretty up the barren eyesore that now sits in front of her office, she said that part is still unclear. “We’re going back and forth on whether to file an insurance claim or not on the grass. We’re not even sure if it’s covered, to be honest with you. We got a quote for fixing our landscaping, not even replacing the grass because it’s so expensive, and it’s over $10,000. So that part is the part that makes me frustrated the most, of course,” she fretted.

That’s modern day California in a nutshell, for you — emboldened criminals take what they want with complete impunity, and law-abiding taxpayers get kicked in the grass.

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