Greenhouse vandalism concerns nationally known rose grower

Whit Wells
Whit Wells

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

BRIGHTON, TN (WMC-TV) - A Brighton man known all around the country for his roses is now worried about next year's crop, after vandals recently hit his greenhouse.

Whit Wells has been growing roses for over seventy years.  He grows all varieties, including Rocky Top and Memphis Blues.  But vandals hit Wells' greenhouse two weeks, ago leaving a thorn in his side.

"I don't know if they were doing it for meanness or thought I was growing marijuana in there," he said.

The vandals cut three holes in the greenhouse, making it hard to keep the inside cool.

Wells says that will affect next year's crop.

"It opens everything up," he said. "It lets all the outside air in. I lost all of my insulation because its two pieces of plastic, and we got a little fan that blows them apart."

A distinctive knife was found on the ground near one of the holes.  Investigators hope someone recognizes it and will admit to the crime.

"The people that went in, whether it's a greenhouse a vehicle in a driveway, whether it's a TV inside a house, they don't have any business touching what's not theirs," Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley said.

In all, there are about 5,000 roses in the greenhouse.  Wells says it will cost thousands of dollars to repair the damage.

"I don't know what they were hunting, but evidently they didn't find it," Wells said.

Deputies hope the distinctive knife will be the key to solving this unusual crime.

If you have any information about this case, call the Tipton County Sheriff's Department tip line at 901-475-3307.

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