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Organized Thefts?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawnbiz Jeff, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Lawnbiz Jeff

    Lawnbiz Jeff LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    We have had at least a couple of recent instances (that I know about) where guys have lost all of their equipment and rigs when they have gotten out and left keys in their trucks. Usually the only thing recovered is the truck. Now I know guys shouldn't be leaving keys in unattended trucks, but some always have done it. I have tried to get the local media to publicize it so that people can be on the lookout & LCO's aren't oblivious. So far only one area newspaper (50 miles away) has reported on a case in their town. They recovered the truck here in our area. See report below:

    Blueville Nursery of 3439 Anderson Ave., reported the theft of several pieces of lawn grooming equipment. The incident occurred July 16 at about 4:32 p.m. at 2112 N. 4th St., The nursery employees were working nearby when a suspect jumped into their work truck, which was unlocked with keys in the vehicle, and drove away. Taken was a 1997 Chevorlet truck, a 20-foot trailer, two walker-style mowers, two push mowers, three weedeaters and a cell phone. The suspect is a Hispanic male. Estimated total loss is $25,150.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Here's what I did for that very reason of rig drive-offs...

    I bought two padlocks (actually a set of four so the key is the same) and attached one each to each side of the trailer gate so that it locks two of the chain links together. A total of two locks were used for this, the other two I used elsewhere but the point of it is the pins that go through the holes that hold the trailer gate up in place are now stuck because the chain that tethers the pins to the trailer won't stretch out because the padlocks are holding two of the links together :p

    Then, the key itself I attached to the key ring that holds ALL of my keys, including the ignition key for the truck.

    And so...
    Doing this effectively disables me opening the gate without said key. :)

    Which forces me to grab the keys out of the ignition, since without that I can't lower the trailer gate :p
    Once the trailer gate is unlocked there's no point in doing much else with the keys other than put them in my pocket.
    So I never leave the truck with the keys in it.

    Now if someone is organized enough to hotwire the truck then I'm SOL but I suspect these thieves look for easier targets.
    Bonus: it might slow down a thief when the gate is up, too.
  3. mississippiturf

    mississippiturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 674

    I was at my Exmark dealer in Jackson, Mississippi a couple of weeks ago. A guy comes in and tells the salesman that he was in a restraunt having lunch when someone took his trailer (loaded with his lawn care equipment) and left his truck!! He thought is was safe because everything (except trailer) had a lock on it!!


    Exmark Lazer Z AS 52" Ultra-cut
    Husqvarna 4824 ZTR
    Gravely Pro-cut 21"
    Stihl 4-Mix Kombi
    Stilh 2-cycle Kombi
    Stihl BG-85 Hand-held
    Redmax 2300 trimmer
    Redmax Hedge Trimmer
    Shindawia Back-pack
    McClain Edger
    Agri-Fab Aerator
    7' X 12' Pro-Pull Trailer
    1995 Silverado
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    I never leave my keys in my truck when I'm out mowing. I also put a lock on the trailer hitch so I have to unlock the lock before removing the trailer. I don't really think of theft all that often but I think I should more and more now. I'm just glad that I have insurance so if my equipment and all get stolen I will at least be able to recover and start back up.
  5. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    I usually will leave my keys in my truck. For the most part, I can see it while mowing at all of my accounts. I do use a lock on the trailer coupler and tool box. Not to may common thieves will steal a truck and trailer out of a person's driveway. Maybe in a parking lot at a diner or someplace like that.
  6. Dean of Green

    Dean of Green LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 254

    My step mother had her car stolen from her driveway. She left the keys in it. They took it in the middle of the day.

    How can you see through a house when you are in the backyard?:nono:
  7. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,332

    I haven't heard of any thefts around here yet. I do NOT want to be the first though. I do keep all my stuff in my locked storage unit at night. I ordered a rack for my handheld blower, so as soon as it comes I will be getting a set of locks for all my racks. I pay way too much for this stuff for it to be ripped off.
  8. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    I don't think that is organized theft, but rather crime of opportunity. It is criminals looking for easy targets. Many will not go to a lot of trouble, but they look for people that are crazy enough to leave keys in vehicles or leave equipment unlocked. If you do this, it is just a matter of time before you get hit. Be responsible, and make it difficult for the criminals. Otherwisw you will be posting in the stolen equipment thread.
  9. ken gustafson

    ken gustafson Inactive
    Posts: 237

    In 2006 the total theft of trailers and contents was 15 BILLION dollars. In other reports I have read the figure was 25 BILLION dollars and I know that the trucking industry does not report all theft...and the figures keep rising for many reasons. It is a problem...my guess it shall have to rise to about 50 or 60 Billion dollars before something serious is done about it. In the mean time I am just doing what I can with what I try to sell and working on getting the rest covered.
    I am very aware of the size of those numbers...just am not able to find out if it is boat trailers or horse trailers or construction trailers or..........Ken
  10. CrewKut

    CrewKut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    There was a rigs in our area taken about a month ago. One of the local news stations reported it. They made sure to point out that a trailer can contain upwards of $40,000.00 worth of equipment and that they are rarely locked.

    Thanks, now every crackhead that would have normally just eyeballed a blower or trimmer is now looking to take everything.

    Reporting the details of the incident is one thing, however, I really think they did our industry a disservice by placing the value and certain other details on the air. Apparently, the thieves were paying attention, as it seems that every week now I see reports of rigs being taken. There was one the other day taken, the LCO chased in another vehicle and called the cops. The police got involved in the chase and the rig ended up on someone's front lawn.

    I watched a report the other day about how a couple of criminals figured out a sophisticated way to steal gas from a station. They went on to report the intimate details of how it was done and the fact that all gas stations are at risk and that anyone can do it. I'm all for them reporting the news, but I think they need to censor themselves on certain things.


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