Caught on tape, thieves stealing high dollar lawn mowers

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - A bizarre burglary is caught on tape involving two guys stealing riding lawn mowers worth a total of more than $40,000.

Hopewell police released surveillance video Friday. In less than twenty minutes, four mowers were stolen early Monday from a lawn care business.

Police found the mowers just a few blocks away from Heretick Feed & Seed. But a detective tells me they believe the thieves planned to return to finish the job. The focus now is finding the two men who appear at ease with sophisticated machines.

"Gone In 60 Seconds", only with high dollar, heavy duty lawn mowers!  Watch closely as one man zips down the road at 6:07 Monday morning. Six minutes later, another mower moved off the lot.

At 6:20, the crime duo crosses paths with a black cat. Five minutes after that, they walk back to the business, for one more.

"You could definitely see that they had a pretty good handle on how to operate these commercial machines," said Heretick Feed & Seed Co-owner, Tim Heretick.

Heretick discovered the mowers missing from his back lot on S. 15th Avenue. One is brand new, the rest belong to customers. Heretick said they're the Cadillac of riding lawn mowers and in high demand.

"Anywhere between $8500 up to about $16,000, so they're not play toys," said Heretick.

This is how Heretick believes the thieves made their getaway, by using a mower as a battering ram to take down this portion of his wooden fence.

Surveillance cameras at a neighboring VFW captured the crooks on the move. Hours later, a tip led police to the stolen mowers on S. 9th Avenue, four blocks from the crime scene.

Heretick said somebody had to have heard the loud motors rumbling while getting ready for work that morning.

Nobody cuts grass this early," said Heretick.

He's just glad the mowers are back with their rightful owners.

"It was definitely a load off my mind when we finally did get those units back," said Heretick.

If you live in the area of S. 15th and South 9th avenues and remember hearing lawn mowers running just after six Monday morning, give Senior Detective Roland Grimm a call. His number is 541-2284.

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