Ring of thieves stole $1M in equipment from small Hillsborough County businesses

"Walking out and seeing it gone. You don't know what to do. You're lost -- that's your business," said Corrine Shaw.
 
They were gone, just like that while she slept. 
 
Not just her expensive pickup truck, trailer and lawn equipment, crooks stole her livelihood which was parked just outside her Tarpon Springs home.
 
"We have a small lawn care business," said Shaw who owns KC Lawns with her husband.
 
"You feel violated. They have your stuff. They know your vehicle. They know where you live," she said.
 
That's how a ring of thieves operated, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
 
Jhirmaine Marquis Frazier, Anthony Jerome Woods, Kenneth Jovan Pride, Frank Edwards, Jr. and James Julius Flucker all face grand theft and dealing in stolen property charges which could carry a maximum 30 year prison sentence.
 
"They would just drive around and find Mom and Pop lawn trailers on the side of the road
at people's houses and put it into a GPS and and lock it down somehow and go back later and take it," explained Hillsborough County Sheriff's Detective Joe Testa.
 
In fact, investigators say they took a million dollars worth of lawn equipment over four years while small business owners suffered.
 
The operation spanned several counties including Pinellas and Sarasota.
 
"The real tragedy here is that the victims in these cases were mostly small business owners that were uninsured. Their lives were undoubtedly significantly impacted for a very long time," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Major Clyde Eisenberg.
 
Detectives hit the jackpot when they busted the ring and discovered storage units piled with equipment-- thankfully some of it belonged to Shaw.
 
"We feel grateful that we got our stuff back and I feel terrible for these guys who never got their equipment back," she said.
 
Investigators say they recovered less than a third of the stolen property and they are still working to return some it to its owners.
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