Lawn equipment theft has authorities on the lookout

Lawn care professional Rick Woodall is watching his back.

"Started changing the way you're doing things and watching to see ya know if somebody, I know this sounds crazy, but if somebody's following you."

He knows he could easily be the next target for lawn equipment thieves.

He says it's a trend that's happening all too frequently these days.

"I've heard of six, seven, eight, several...almost ten [companies] that have had their stuff taken in a very short time period."

"They're stealing anywhere from $10-20,000 dollars worth of stuff," says Autauga County Chief Deputy Joe Sedinger.

He says in the last two weeks his office has investigated five cases of lawn equipment theft.

It's so common that deputies are on high alert.

"We've stopped several trailers that have had lawn equipment on them and made sure it belonged to the person."

Woodall was one of them.

"I was glad. I'd rather spend 10 minutes on the side of the road with [a deputy] making sure my stuff is legit and knowing they're looking for somebody," says Woodall.

It's not just one piece of lawn equipment that's being stolen here and there. Autauga county sheriff's officials say thieves are taking entire trailers full of professional mowers and weed eaters.

"In one case they stole the truck and trailer and all the equipment," adds Sedinger.

It's why Woodall spends an extra 20 minutes a day locking up his tools--anything to keep his job security--knowing his success rides on the machines.

"I don't want somebody riding off with my equipment. We work way too hard and spend way too much on these mowers."

Sheriff's deputies are working with authorities in Montgomery and Millbrook to crack these cases since thieves are dumping some of the equipment in other cities.

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