Metro East business owner recognizes suspect seen stealing from Richmond Heights nursery

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. – When Sandy Richter saw security video of a woman stealing plants from a Richmond Heights shop, her reaction was one of shock.

“Unbelievable. Unbelievable!” she exclaimed.

Unbelievable, she said, because just last year – Sandy’s Back Porch, her garden center in Belleville – was hit by a burglar.

She said that burglar looks exactly like the green-thumbed bandit who stole from Garden Heights Nursery on Big Bend Boulevard in recent weeks.

“Her mannerisms, exactly how she knelt down. She had her headlamp on, she was checking and reading all the tags. Yeah. It was very obvious that it was the same person.”

Richmond Heights police said the woman seen on video is accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of pots, plants, and equipment from the popular business.

Detectives located her at her home in Fairview Heights and found several of the stolen property planted in her yard.

Richter said she is certain the suspect in Richmond Heights case is Tara King, who also lives in Fairview Heights and who authorities charged with theft from Sandy’s Back Porch last September.

Richter said detectives with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department recovered stolen property from King’s yard.

“That doesn’t slow you down? And make you think twice about it?” she asked.

The case is being forwarded to the prosecutor’s office, Richmond Heights police said.

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