The hum of lawn mowers and the smell of freshly cut grass is not just a sure sign of spring, it's also attracting plenty of thieves.
Murfreesboro police said the warmer weather is bringing a spike in theft, as crooks go after lawn equipment, sometimes with an eye-popping price tag.
Police said the crooks were so bold in one case they sold a trailer loaded with lawn equipment right out of a victim's driveway.
Ralph Buckingham never expected his lawn equipment would be taken right out of his driveway, of all places.
"Someone during the night came in and uncapped it from my truck, and it was gone," Buckingham said.
Buckingham lost a commercial lawn mower, weed eaters and other pieces of equipment.
"I feel someone has been watching me. I've been cutting since 2000 and never had a problem before," he said.
He wasn't alone. Around the same time last week; another man had his commercial mower stolen.
It broke down on him while cutting a commercial lot on Old Fort Parkway, so he left it overnight. When he returned, it was nowhere to be found.
AAA Maintenance owner William Wildick said he doesn't take any chances with his equipment.
"I chain it up," Wildick said. "I actually have a good chain and a good lock. And it's unfortunate, but you have to keep it locked up all the time."
Murfreesboro police said law equipment owners need to make sure their equipment is properly secured.
"They need to put them on a trailer with a lock. They need to lock the trailer and leave it hooked up to a vehicle," said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans. "Preferably, if they can park the trailer inside, that would be the best option."
Buckingham is out of $15,000 worth of equipment, and he lost about five days of work.
His equipment was insured, but he didn't want to wait for the claim to be paid, so he has already purchased more to keep his customers happy.
The new equipment is being kept under lock and key.
"I got all the locks for my trailer, and keep my mowers locked up in my garage. And that's how it's going to be," Buckingham said.
Buckingham was able to provide police the serial numbers of most of his stolen items. They said the thieves will certainly be taking a chance with the stolen equipment hitched to their vehicle, especially since the trailers have to be registered.
Police said thieves will often sell the commercial equipment on the Internet or simply keep it to use for themselves.
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