Surveillance photo of plant thief in Brevard Co. goes viral

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The owner of a Brevard County restaurant now has the Internet on her side as she tries to track down a thief.

Soup shop owner Julie Shipley showed Channel 9 surveillance video that shows a man stealing expensive plants from the front of business.

Shipley decided to turn to the Internet for help, and close to 100,000 people have seen a surveillance image she posted online.

"How dare he? He's stealing the plants from all the folks that like to sit out here and have a nice lunch," said Shipley.

Surveillance video shows the bizarre 15-minute long theft in which the man appears to be hanging out. Every time someone came by, the thief sat down and acted like he wasn't doing anything. He changed chairs and even took a smoke break.

"He tried to take the table and the chairs, but we have them secured together," said Shipley. "As he's dragging the table, the two chairs are bouncing along on the sidewalk."

But when the moment was right, the thief went to a car, grabbed a dolly and loaded up the plants.

Shipley said she installed the security camera a couple of months ago, and she's glad she did. She said the images were so clear that she was able to take a picture of the video and put it on her Facebook page, and that's when she says her post went viral.

The image has been shared more than 400 times, reaching more than 100,000 people. It's even gone international.

"We have even gotten replies from people over in the U.K.," Shipley said.

The plants are worth about $500 in total.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.