Residents living at Oak Tree Apartments West thought it was just a weed growing underneath the stairwell.

And it was - but not just any old weed - it was the illegal kind.

And that caught the attention of a couple of Tarleton State University students who contacted the Stephenville Police Department before they moved out of the apartments.

“The students called dispatch and said a suspicious looking plant was growing underneath the stairs,” Chief Roy Halsell said.

When officer Brandon West arrived at the scene, he recognized the 3-foot tall “weed” as a marijuana plant.

“He dug it up - roots and all - and brought it to the police department so it could be destroyed,” Halsell said.

Halsell said he doesn't believe anyone was brazen enough to grow the plant in plain sight on purpose and thinks it was an accident.

“Our theory is that it sprouted after a marijuana seed was dropped there,” Halsell said. “It was pretty strange.”

(See pg. 2 for photo.)

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.