A 21-year-old man is facing grand theft charges after deputies say he stole sprinkler heads from a Volusia County fernery, causing the loss of about $30,000 in ferns before the busy Valentine's Day season.

  • DeLand-area fernery lost $30,000 in ferns before Valentine's Day
  • Sprinkler heads stolen from fernery, causing plants to die
  • Paisley man Anthony Markgraf charged with grand theft

Anthony Markgraf of Paisley is charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property, violations of the second-hand metal recycler act and burglary.

The Jan. 31 theft happened at John Puckett Ferneries at Rich Fern Road and West Plymouth Avenue in DeLand. A fern manager that day noticed 60 sprinkler heads missing, which interrupted water to ferns. The loss was estimated at $30,000. The owner estimated that 2,500 sprinkler heads in total were stolen, with a value of $62,500.

Detectives reached out to scrap metal yards in the area. One scrap yard said a man tried to sell two buckets full of sprinkler heads in late January. Another scrap yard said Markgraf was a frequent customer and had scrapped several 5-gallon buckets of sprinklers on two occasions.

Volusia Sheriff's deputies caught up with Markgraf and his girlfriend, Jamie Shipp, on Wednesday night. Both were wanted on grand theft charges in a different case.

Markgraf was being held Thursday in the Volusia County Branch Jail on $75,000 bond. Shipp's bond was $20,000.

Anthony Markgraf (Volusia County Sheriff's Office)