Landscaping equipment thefts may be related

Businesses lose thousands worth of equipment

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - When Andrew Evangelist is on the job, he's always looking out for thieves.

"No one's taking that," he said as he clamps down the lock on his trailer.

The owner of his own landscaping business, Agrow Tech, Evangelist learned his lesson the hard way.

"I was in the back of the property doing what I do and I came out front and everything was basically gone, but the lawnmower."

The loss was about $8,000 worth of edgers, blowers and other equipment. That takes a lot work to make up.

In the last two months, several other landscaping businesses took similar hits.

The Pasco Sheriff's office says in March and April, thieves stole equipment from sheds and truck trailers left unattended while the crews were working in the middle of the day.

"I'm very cautious about it. I tell my guy all the time, please lock the gate. I don't care if you are going to be gone one minute, 'cause that's all it takes to steal it."

Many of the thefts were in Wesley Chapel and Land O' Lakes in the area of SR 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard.

The Sheriff's office says they believe the crimes are related.

Those trailers loaded with high-priced equipment seem like they might be easy targets.

"Absolutely it can be, if you make it easy for them," said Evangelist.

Investigators are hoping someone may have saw something and help with a tip that keep other businesses from suffering.

If you have any information, you are asked to call the Pasco Sheriff's Office at 727-844-7711 or leave a tip on their tips page at  http://www.pascosheriff.com/websmart/pasco/static/tipsprocedure.htm .

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