By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Police charge 2 in Braselton shrubbery theft
Video posted on Internet helped ID suspects, police say
0706LANDSCAPING CaryTilotta
Cary Tilotta

A humorous video on YouTube helped catch two men this week who are accused of stealing shrubbery from a Braselton orthodontics office earlier this summer.

Cary Tilotta, 47, and Steven Masters, 42, both of Buford, are charged with felony theft by taking in a May 18 incident at Wilson Orthodontics, 7316 Spout Springs Road.

Ron Wilson, owner of the practice, said he discovered holes in the back of his practice where shrubbery, valued at $1,200, recently had been installed. After checking his surveillance video, he found the date of the incident, filed a police report and put together a video detailing the crime in order to find those who were responsible.

The video, posted on YouTube, includes the surveillance footage of the building and shows a white truck circling the office before pulling up to the curb and a man getting out.

The man wiggles a few plants from the ground and throws them in the back of his truck. Later he’s seen again with another man and they load more plants into the truck. It also includes a humorous commentator and music.

It’s that video and the media attention surrounding it that led Braselton police to the suspects, Assistant Police Chief Lou Solis said.

“The thing that helped us out was the social media,” he said. “The doctor putting up the camera and doing that helped us tremendously. That was awesome.”

Wilson said Thursday that he was mostly glad the crime wouldn’t be happening again in the area, mentioning that a couple of other businesses came forward about landscaping thefts after he posted his video.

Solis said the department had people calling in with tips after seeing the video, and a couple of those tips mentioned the same man.

Police then staked out the house looking for the white truck featured in the video. On July 2, a detective spotted the truck.

“When he was about to leave, he saw the truck pull out of the garage and we followed the truck and pulled the lady over,” Solis said. “And she admitted that, yeah, that was her husband, and we followed her back to the house.”

Braselton police officers and members of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office went to the house and asked Tilotta to come back to the police department, Solis said.

When there, they showed Tilotta the evidence. Solis said Tilotta then confessed to stealing the shrubs.

Tilotta owns Cedar Creek Nursery, listed under his home address, according to Solis, but he gave police a couple of different stories about what he planned to do with the shrubs, including giving them to his friend Masters.

Police then found Masters already booked into the Hall County Jail on another charge.

The shrubbery was not recovered.

Wilson said he is waiting to replace the shrubbery until the two men go to court, hoping the judge will order them to pay back the $1,200.

Friends to Follow social media