In a disheartening act of audacity, UC Riverside Botanic Gardens suffered a significant break-in during the night of July 7. Perpetrators made off with two off-road vehicles, including a brand-new Toro donated by the Toro Corporation, and most of the garden's power and hand tools, leaving the hardworking staff virtually empty-handed.
The shocking incident has left the beloved public garden, which has provided a free and open nature haven for locals and tourists alike, in a daunting predicament. Not only were physical resources stolen, but the spirit of the peaceful oasis was severely tainted. According to the garden's Director, Jodie Holt, the burglars likely scouted the garden during a free visit. The sentiment echoed throughout the community as word spread on social media.
"Our insurance doesn't cover replacement cost," Holt said, "we'll be out thousands of dollars attempting to replace the stolen tools alone."
Despite this setback, Holt finds the strength to move forward in the very essence of the garden. In a message shared with the community, she implored anyone with any information regarding the break-in to come forward.
"The beauty of the garden, our dedicated staff, tireless volunteers, campus supporters, and our dear followers are the driving force behind our resolve to recover," Holt said. "We are heartbroken, yet we refuse to give up."
As the investigation continues, the public's patience is sought as UC Riverside Botanic Gardens navigates these challenging circumstances.
To donate and help the Botanic Gardens repurchase necessary equipment, please visit gardens.ucr.edu/giving.