Historic greenhouse damaged, $5,000 in tools stolen

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WICHITA, Kan. -- The Wichita Police Department is investigating a theft that happened overnight at the Linwood Park Greenhouse and Maintenance Building.

"It was a mess and it was emptier than it was when we left it," said city arborist Gary Farris.

Early Wednesday morning, Farris arrived at the greenhouse, located at 1700 S. Hydraulic St. He said the place was ransacked. Many drawers were empty and items were scattered on the floor.

He estimates that 80 tools were stolen. Many of them were engraved with "City of Wichita" or "Forestry Division." The tools are worth about $5,000. He estimates damages to the fence and doors also cost $5,000.

"The people of Wichita got robbed," Farris said. "It wasn't just the forestry department. It was the people and that's disappointing."

Farris was surprised by the amount and types of things stolen, including one item weighing at least 100 pounds. He believes multiple people were involved in the crime.

"One of the heaviest things that they took was our anvil," he said. "I don't understand why someone would want to carry off an anvil. That took a lot of effort, but they managed to do it."

Replacing the items may take time. Farris said the department is limited with its current budget.

He also said the biggest challenge is meeting standards for a historic building like the Linwood Park Greenhouse. To repair or upgrade the building, the city has to meet standards of the National Register of Historic Places.

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