Dozens of lawn businesses targeted by thieves - FOX 13 News

Dozens of lawn businesses targeted by thieves

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

The losses inflicted by a crafty and so far unidentified pair thieves are adding up in St. Petersburg. Thirty six times since September, they have watched lawn and tree crews, waiting to snatch unattended equipment.

"They came and backed the truck up to us and loaded us up while we were all blowing in the back. We came back and everything was gone," Donald Fuller, one of the victims, told FOX 13 News. "Power pruners, hedge trimmers, edgers, it was about, out of pocket, $1,850."

Keith Burden lost a $500 gas-powered backpack leaf blower.

"It's becoming an epidemic, actually," Fuller declared. "It's not just here and there, it happens all the time, I hear of somebody getting something taken every day."

St. Petersburg Police Detective Michael Egluf valued the used equipment at about $20,000.

"However, the replacement value is going to be up to maybe $100,000," Egluf said.

Egluf added that the thefts have happened all over St. Petersburg, although most have been on the west end, west of 58th Street. He asked citizens to be watchful for anyone loitering around busy landscape crews.

In the meantime, the small business owners are buttoning up. Burden pointed out locks with guards that are harder to break.

"You see a lot of these out on lawn trailers now," Burden said. "You'll see guys that have two on the side door and two on the back door."

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