Forget the BMW; get a built-in alarm for your palm trees. Palm crime sprees--homeowners wake up to find a hole where a stately palm once stood--regularly hit suburban communities such as Yorba Linda and Garden Grove. Sago palms, which have shallow roots, are favorite marks.
And if thieves don't get your palms, a palm broker just might. Local entrepreneurs have been canvassing neighborhoods--mostly in San Diego and Orange County--and offering to dig up palms that have grown too big for a homeowner's garden. The homeowner may or may not appreciate the tree's value, but the broker does; a mature tree of a relatively common species can fetch $5,000 or more depending on its height, and some exotic palms are considered priceless. And landscapers' appetite for mature palms is insatiable.