If you’re one of the 878,969 people employed by the U.S. landscaping industry, take note to keep a close eye on your equipment, lest you run into thieves like these from Sarasota, FL.
According to a recent report from Fox 13 in Miami, a Sarasota landscaping company had to recover thousands of dollars in equipment that was stolen last week, along with a truck from the lot, which was used to take and transport all the stolen equipment.
Around 7:00 p.m. last Sunday, the thieves cut through the chain-link fence that surrounded ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design and began their spree.
They tried entering the vehicles parked in the lot, but when they discovered that they were locked, the thieves used an axe to smash through the cinderblock wall of the business.
They then disabled the phone lines, as well as the alarm, and stole up to $80,500 worth of equipment — a total of nearly 50 pieces.
Account Manager Jeremy Lepper said that “rooms that are usually full of equipment were empty. Mowers, edgers, blowers, weed eaters and trimmers had been stolen.” Lepper decided to check the GPS unit that was inside the truck that was stolen, and it led them to where the thieves had parked it in Miami Gardens.
“We had the truck located, and we were able to tell that the truck had been moved and stopped at a location in Miami,” Lepper explained.
After the Miami authorities matched the serial numbers to the missing mowers, they arrested Rauniel Quintero, 32, and charged him with dealing in stolen property. The stolen mowers were then returned to ArtisTree’s premises, and further arrests are being investigated.
Without the help of the GPS system, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office would never have been able to track down the stolen equipment or the suspect, which Lepper said was “invaluable.”