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Alleged Poinsettia Bandit Arrested

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Yolanda Graddy is accused of stealing flowers from in front of a Coral Gables hospital.

Yolanda Graddy is accused of stealing flowers from in front of a Coral Gables hospital.

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CORAL GABLES (CBS4) — Police say the woman responsible for snatching flowers from in front of a Coral Gables hospital has been arrested.

Yolanda Graddy, 52, allegedly took poinsettias from Baptist Health South landscaping, but during questioning Graddy confessed to the crime, according to South Miami Police Department spokesman Major Rene Landa.

She is charged with two counts of Petit theft, two counts of burglary and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and alcohol consumption in a public place.

Police have security of the Baptist Health headquarters building in Coral Gables that shows a woman pulling up dozens of red and white poinsettia plants that Baptist landscapers had put in over the weekend. She arrives on a bicycle n a black dress shortly before midnight Nov. 28 and shows a person pulling the plants out of freshly mulched planters and flower beds.

She made off with two bags full of poinsettias.

Baptist replanted the flowers the next day and additional security video shows the same woman returned on her bicycle to take more of the holiday plants.

“We’ve called it the ‘bah, humbug caper,'” Baptist Vice-President Cindy Cancio told CBS4 News Dec. 2. “We plant the poinsettias to make it festive, not only for our employees and visitors, but for the Coral Gables community.”

Baptist filed a report with Coral Gables police, and provided them with the security video of the thefts.

“We had our landscaper replace all of the poinsettias, and it’s certainly not about the cost of the plants,” Cancio said in explaining why Baptist alerted police. “It’s about the principle of the holiday season, when people are supposed to be caring and nice.”

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