South City thieves mow patch of lawn, then steal lawnmower

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Mowing the lawn just got a little tougher for residents of one south St. Louis neighborhood. Since April 20th, three lawnmowers have been stolen off Potomac Street in the generally safe and close-knit Tilles Park neighborhood.

Jeff Young was the first victim. He recalls, “I pulled my edger and my lawnmower out at the same time. When I came up here to edge the front lawn, the few minutes that I was up here, somebody came by and grabbed it.” It was snatched in the light of day, while Young was just feet away.

He alerted his neighbors, and through social media, discovered that a neighbor with a surveillance camera captured a white van driving down the alley right around the time Young’s lawnmower was stolen.

Two and a half weeks later, the next lawnmower was stolen, one block over. A police report from that theft also describes a white vehicle with a lawnmower visible in the back.

It happened again this past Thursday to Michelle Hummert. A new fence was being built, so her backyard was left open. She says, “Yesterday when I got home after work, I just came out here to see the progress they made on the fence, and it was gone.”

But she did find a little piece of her yard perfectly mowed. “They mowed a little bit of it, not much, I guess they just checked to see if it worked,” she muses.

All three thefts happened in the afternoon, on the same side of street, just 11 houses apart. Now, 23th Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro is trying to get to the bottom of it. He’s alerted neighborhood watch, and asked police to beef up patrols in the area.

Vaccaro explains, “We need to be more vigilant. We need to watch our stuff. We need to park smart, we need to keep our garage doors closed. We need to not make our neighborhood a neighborhood that’s targeted for this kind of theft.”

Unfortunately, according to these victims, police say it’s unlikely they’ll ever see their lawnmowers again. The victims didn’t have the serial numbers, so even if a similar lawnmower is located, it’d be tough to determine the rightful owner.

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