OWASSO, Okla. - Owasso police say there has been an increase in lawn equipment theft over the last few weeks.
Authorities say they have taken at least eight reports in which lawn equipment, such as trimmers, leaf blowers and mowers, were stolen.
The most recent theft happened Friday morning near Mills Elementary. Police say a lawn service company had their equipment stolen while in a neighborhood. Police say a neighbor saw the thieves pull up in a vehicle, grab the equipment and speed off.
Police say this type of criminal activity has been reported elsewhere across the city.
"All they have to do is jump out, grab it and go. It's that quick," said Lt. Nick Boatman with Owasso Police.
Boatman said residents and businesses are being targeted.
"I think it's targets of opportunity. These drivers drive around all day. They have nothing else to do. They drive around and wait until they see something easy to take," said Boatman.
Wayne Dickens and his son, Dalton, own their own lawn care service and were working a few blocks away in the same neighborhood where Friday's theft was reported.
"It kind of makes me mad. A guy's out here working, trying to make a living and people come by and steal his stuff he's using to make his living with," said Wayne Dickens.
While the Dickens have never been victims, they have had close calls.
"I had a guy try to steal some stuff one time but I caught him and hollered at him and he ran off," said Wayne Dickens.
The father and son also keep padlocks on their equipment and always try to make sure one of them is keeping a watchful eye.
The incidents have occurred all over the city, but some neighborhoods have been targeted more than others. Police say thieves targeted the Country Estates addition, near 116th & Garnett, and the Fairways addition near 96th & Mingo Rd., a couple of times in the last few weeks.
Police advise residents and other property owners to take their equipment with them whenever they take a break and store it and lock it in a secure place. They also advise homeowners to close their garage doors, especially if they have lawn equipment inside.
Boatman also suggests property owners write down serial numbers and take photographs of their equipment in case it is ever stolen. Boatman says this will help increase the likelihood of owners getting their equipment back.
Anyone with information on any lawn equipment theft is urged to call Owasso Police at 918-272-2244.