Thieves struck the landscape businesses of two friends this past week. They stole two trucks from one and one truck from the other. Both run operations just southwest of Cleveland. I found out about it at the Ohio Landscape Association annual dinner dance Saturday night.
One of the owners told us the incident taught him two lessons — he’ll fence in his company yard and he’ll install GPS systems on his trucks. Besides helping with routing, the GPS will make trucks easier to locate if they’re stolen, police told him.
The thieves drove a stolen van to the first location; it was still running when our landscape friend showed up just before daybreak. He wondered, “What in the heck is that van doing in our lot?” When he looked around he found two company pickups missing. The window of a third had been smashed.
It didn't take police long to recover one of the stolen trucks and arrest its driver. He was pulling a trailer with a backhoe on it, reportedly stolen from another site. The officer stopped the driver because the trailer lights weren’t working. When questioned by police, the driver claimed he “just found” the truck and backhoe.
Another favorite haunt of equipment thieves are regional landscape field days and trade shows. We’ve heard several discouraging stories about equipment, usually on trailers, being spirited away, sometimes in broad daylight. The thieves keep track of the events. They cruise the streets around a convention center or field day looking for trailers that they can hook onto their vehicles and drive away. Hotel and motel parking lots offer no security from these buzzards. — Ron Hall