Last week, a woman unwittingly walked out of a flower market in Shandong province carrying an iris worth some 20 million yuan.
The prized flower was on display at one Taiwanese nursery in the city of Yucheng — until suddenly it wasn’t. Workers at the shop frantically called police after finding that the extremely valuable plant had gone missing.
They explained that the flower was a one-of-a-kind Iris japonica (butterfly flower) which had been carefully cultivated over the past eight years. The nursery was planning to use that iris to make more just like it. Already, they had orders from 10 different countries totaling some 20 million yuan ($3 million), Iqilu.com reports.
But without the flower, there was no money to be had.
After reviewing surveillance footage, police were able to track down the woman who had made off with the iris. She explained that after buying another flower she had simply exchanged it for the one on display, thinking that it was of the same type — and same price.
Oh, how wrong she was. However, police have believed her story and have decided not to charge her with any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, this appears to be yet another warning for shops to keep their ordinary-looking but extraordinarily pricey items out of customers’ reach. Earlier this month, a tourist at a Yunnan jade shop accidentally broke a bracelet priced at 300,000 yuan before promptly passing out in shock. The woman and the shop have reportedly agreed to a compensation deal for the broken bracelet; however, the amount has not been disclosed.
[Images via iqilu.com]
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat