Councilman calls for "maximum penalties" in theft of trellis from McKinley Rose garden
The man who posted a photo of a massive rose trellis stolen from McKinley Park on his Facebook page and asked for help moving it to his niece’s wedding is in custody at Sacramento County Main Jail.
Richard Gerritt Hengeveld, 53, described by his sister as “homeless,” has been in jail since Saturday for a parole violation and is ineligible for bail, according to the county Sheriff’s Department inmate information website.
He has not been named by Sacramento Police Department investigators as a suspect in the theft of the rose trellis. A police spokesman said Monday that the department expected to announce developments in the case soon.
In a brief interview at the downtown jail, Hengeveld said he knew only that he is in custody for violating parole and didn’t want to talk about the stolen trellis unless he was charged.
“I’m sorry I wasted your time,” he told a reporter.
Hengeveld’s sister, Wendy Poirier Barnes, said her brother arrived at his niece’s wedding April 30 toting the 12-foot-tall ornate iron trellis. Family members didn’t know it was stolen from the McKinley Park rose garden, she said.
“My brother was an idiot,” Barnes said last week. “He thought he was doing a nice gesture for his niece. He didn’t think about the consequences.”
The trellis disappeared from the East Sacramento park early in the morning on April 30 but turned up in a photo on Hengeveld’s Facebook page – in pieces and strapped to a bike trailer – with the note: “Need. A truck to move this arch from brk to natomas. For my nieces wedding today.”
“Brk” stands for the West Sacramento neighborhood of Broderick, Barnes said.
A wedding guest who had heard people bragging about the stolen trellis reported the theft to Friends of East Sacramento, a nonprofit group that manages the park’s rose garden. He pointed volunteers to Facebook pages that had photos of the trellis being used at the wedding.
Police located where the photos were taken, and saw the trellis rising above a lower wooden fence line, said Cecily Hastings, a founder of the nonprofit group.
The trellis has been returned to the park and remained in a secured area in recent days awaiting reinstallation, possibly as soon as this week, she said.