The shelf vanished.

To say Maria Johnson has a green thumb would be an understatement. For years, colorful violets were a common sight at her Bonaire neighborhood home, where she has lived for 20 years. Johnson’s violets were one of her passions.

“I love flowers, and I even belonged to a club,” she says.

Johnson enjoys her neighborhood and knows many people in the area. And while she no longer grows violets, Johnson still nurtures plants. To help with her gardening, Johnson uses a 6-foot-high shelf system to keep plants outside in good weather, and then moves them to another shelf inside her garage during cold weather. The outdoor shelf helped keep her plants healthy and green, and Johnson had owned the shelf for more than 30 years.

Unfortunately, her outdoor shelf was made of aluminum, a coveted commodity by thieves right now as prices of aluminum climb higher and higher. Last Thursday, she noticed the shelf was gone.

“It’s sad,” she says of the theft. “I’ve never had anyone steal anything here.”

Johnson will continue watering and maintaining her plants, but is disappointed something as simple as a plant shelf would be a thief’s target.

Dallas Police Sgt. Keitric Jones of the Northeast Patrol Division says his department has definitely noticed an increase in metal theft over the last few years, not only because of increased metal prices, but possibly for other reasons as well.

“This increase may also be due to the economy and more vacant homes and apartments,” he says.

Any items outdoors should be secured and will help reduce metal and property theft, Keitric adds.