Flower shop ravaged by serial thief, desperate employee posts photo and license plate

An unknown man has been stealing flowers from the Holland Blumen Markt store in Heiloo for a year. Despite clear images of him, including his car and license plate, the police do little with them. After he recently struck again, employee Mariëlle Kouw had had enough. She threw all the information on Facebook, but it has not yet led to a golden tip. “Apparently no one here knows him.”

The company has an unmanned flower shop on the street side, which is open 24/7. When customers stand in front of it, the door automatically slides open. Payment can be made in cash or by QR code. That usually goes well: “People are honest and sincere, but there are always those who pay too little or not at all,” Mariëlle Kouw explains to media partner Regional city Central. That is why there are several cameras in the store.

But this serial thief is making a lot of noise. “He has been doing this for about a year now. Then he does not pay or with a few coins. Sometimes there are weeks, sometimes a few months. We have it all on video. I think he has done it about ten times now done.”

Couple hundred euros

She does not know exactly how much the greedy man stole flowers for. “But it is now a few hundred euros.” After a year she has had enough and hopes to find out who the returning thief is through a public campaign.

Stolen from the store is common. “We have had someone take the entire greenhouse,” says Mariëlle. “We were on TV with that in Hart van Nederland.” The company also had camera images, photos and the license plate there. “And then the police said: ‘This is not evidence’. That is frustrating, of course.”

And discouraging, because the company no longer makes any effort to inform the police. “A pointless action, they don’t do anything about it.”

Make up your own mind

Yet she does not blame the police. “We understand. Everyone is busy, there is a shortage of staff everywhere. And normally we try to solve it all ourselves, we don’t really want to file a report with the possible consequences for that person. But we have now reached the end council.”

In the images that Mariëlle shares on the Facebook page ‘Je bent Heilooër als…’, a man wearing a hat can be seen in full view. The other photo shows a silver Toyota. She also shares his license plate.

Text continues after the photo.

Although the police understand the action, you cannot simply post such images online. “I can very well imagine that people do it, but it is not the intention,” says a spokesperson.

The system shows that no reports or charges have been filed until January 1, 2023, the spokesperson responds. He recommends always doing that.

Libel or slander?

“Without a report, it becomes a difficult story. And putting things online yourself can also cause problems in a criminal case. The suspect could destroy evidence and even report libel or slander. The sentence could be lower.”

“We have made reports anyway. Reports, I would have to inquire about that,” Mariëlle responds. In any case, the expectation that it will yield anything is zero at Holland Blumen Markt. “A colleague had caught a perpetrator red-handed. He grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and took him to the police station. That man walked free despite the video footage.”