Real estate agent cleared of wrongdoing after taking orchids from Wilton Manors backyard

Joseph Schutz says incident was simple misunderstanding

(Joseph Schutz)

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – A South Florida real estate agent has been cleared of burglary and grand theft charges after he admitted to taking orchids from a Wilton Manors backyard.

Joseph Schutz was arrested in 2015 after authorities said he confessed to taking the plants that were listed for sale.

Police said the homeowner's neighbor saw a vehicle parked at the home and immediately called him because he had never seen the car before.

The homeowner told the neighbor that no one was supposed to be at his home, so the neighbor called police.

Schutz told Local10.com that the home was awaiting closing and was vacant so he took the four orchid plants, believing they were left abandoned in the backyard.

He said he never entered the home.

"As an avid collector and fan of orchids, I looked upon them much the same way as I would look upon a lost kitten...abandoned and in need of my assistance," he said.

Schutz said he offered to return to the plants to the owner and never had any criminal intentions.

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