NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Trailer thief steals $40,000 in lawn equipment, nearly destroying family business

Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 29, 2018

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Joe Mandes has owned a lawn service and tree trimming company for more than 15 years. 

"It’s our livelihood. It's what pays our bills," said Billie Jo, Mandes' wife.

But in just minutes it was all taken away. 

"On Sunday with a truck backed into my driveway, hooked up to my trailer with all of my equipment in it, and took off with it," said Joe Mandes.

Around 1 a.m. on Sunday a white truck was caught on surveillance video driving off with the 24-foot trailer packed with more than $40,000 worth of lawn mowers and equipment. 

"It was parked right here. That’s my daughter’s bedroom and she hasn’t slept there for three nights because she’s scared," said Billie Jo.  

And their home wasn’t the first stop the thieves made. Surveillance video shows that same white truck pulling up to another home less than a mile away.  

"He walked right past my son’s bedroom. Some dirtbag, and I’ll use the nice word, walked past my son without me even knowing he was there. So, that was scary enough for me," said Tracey McKnight 

Their surveillance video shows the guy coming behind their home and wheeling away a welding machine but he didn’t get far.

"He hit a hole and got spooked," said McKnight. 

The sheriff’s office says these things happen regularly and they’re warning people to lock up their items and keep a lookout for a white truck like the one in the video.