Two people charged with stealing 600 Venus flytraps

The insect-gobbling Venus flytrap is the most popular of the carnivorous plants but the perennial is only native to North and South Carolina, specifically a 75 mile area around Wilmington, NC. It's a felony to steal the plants from their natural habitat yet two individuals hoped to make some serious cash on the black market by allegedly digging up nearly 600 of them in the tiny town of Boiling Spring Lakes.

"This time of year, they start to bud flowers and it's easier for them to find in the wild," said Sgt. Matt Criscoe of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. "Even during the winter months as well, they're still able to find, but not as easily as they are during the spring."

They harvested over 590 plants illegally," he added. "That's nature conservancy property, which you have to have permission to be on a property and to harvest any plants."

From Fox19:

Officers responded to a call on Feb. 13 about two people digging for flytraps in Boiling Spring Lakes. They found the suspects at a nearby gas station and searched their backpacks[…]

"We do our best, especially this time of year. We ramp up enforcement patrols in these areas where are known for people to poach and, you know, we've got several experienced officers in the area that are familiar with this type of activity," said Criscoe. "So, they know certain times a year that they need to put forth efforts in an area."