Lawn mowers and ATV thefts increasing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawn mowers and ATV thefts increasing

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August 27, 2007

Dougherty County -- South Georgia law enforcers say the theft of high priced lawn mowers and all terrain vehicles has skyrocketed in the last month. Four thefts were reported in Dougherty County over the weekend.

Now Investigators are working with surrounding counties, who also report a big increase in similar thefts.

Police are warning people to safeguard your lawn equipment and ATV's, because thieves are after them.

Danny Feaster had two All Terrain Vehicle's stolen from his home, and many of his riding friends have also had their ATV's stolen recently., so he moved his Artic Cat 500 to his workplace at Skyline Equipment, inside it's barbwire fencing. Feaster said "that's why I had it up here, so no one would mess with it."

But even that was not enough. Over the weekend someone cut the fence and stole his six thousand dollar ATV. Feaster said "you work and stuff and then somebody else comes around here, because they don't want to work. So they just want to steal your stuff. Albany is full of them."

But Investigators say it's not just Albany.  Many counties in South Georgia are reporting big increases in thefts of ATV's and lawn mowers. Dougherty County Police Captain Jimmy Sexton said "they are very popular. They are very easy to sell."

Police are urging South Georgians to use extra caution with riding lawn mowers and ATV's, because thieves are targeting them. Just putting a lock on your gate is not enough, because they are worth a lot of easy money. Sexton said "that's a big problem. These are big ticket items. The ATV's six to seven thousand dollars. Lawn mowers three thousand dollars. These zero turning radius mowers. It's a big loss."

Investigators know these stolen items are being sold to people, and they urge you not to buy stolen property. Sexton said "if you are getting a deal that's way too good, you need to contact us, and don't buy the equipment."

Feaster said he will buy another ATV, and try to come up with another plan to keep it safe from thieves. But he says it almost seems impossible. Feaster said "you can't, If they want them, they are going to get them."

Dougherty County Police Investigators say they are working with several surrounding county's to find the buyers of these stolen items, to hopefully cut the number of thefts.

Power equipment operators urge you to write down the serial number off your lawn mower or ATV, so if it is stolen, Investigators can have a chance to recover it. Most theft victims do not have the serial number when they report their equipment, worth thousands of dollars, is stolen.

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