MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - According to the Montgomery Police Department, crime is seasonal, and a crime the department sees more of during the summer is lawn equipment theft.
"This is mainly because people are out cutting their grass or using this equipment more often than they would in the winter months," Captain Regina Duckett said.
While Duckett said the department cannot give a definitive number of exactly how many cases of lawnmower thefts it has received so far this season, she confirmed it has been a prevalent issue. She said this is consistent from year to year.
Seven lawn care services in Montgomery confirmed with WSFA 12 News that they have had equipment stolen. More than half of those cases occurred within the last three months.
Rick Willis, a part-time lawn service worker, said in his six years of working in the industry, he has only had one piece of equipment stolen. He said it was a blower that cost about $250. The reason it was stolen, he said, is simple.
"The one time that it happened, I wasn't there," Willis said. "My partner was in the backyard, and a helper was in the backyard as well. The blower was sitting in the back of the pick-up truck, and somebody just came by and lifted her out of there."
Willis said, typically, the crews he works with keep all of their equipment within their line of sight. He also said he makes an effort to use a larger vehicle and stay "low key" so it is less obvious he is toting around such expensive equipment.
While Willis' theft case did not leave a damaging effect on his livelihood, his stolen property was on the less expensive end of this type of equipment.
With professional grade mowers priced in the thousands, Duckett said this crime can leave a victim in a tough financial situation.
"It's a very expensive business to get into, and it's a great business to be involved in," Duckett said.
To avoid this, MPD warns both people who work in lawn care and homeowners who have the equipment for personal use to take precautions. The department handles cases involving both types of victims.
MPD suggests writing down the serial number on your items, so they are easier to track, especially if someone tries to pawn it. Also, mark your belongings with something distinct to you.