Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Thieves snatch mowers, blowers

Husqvarna equipment easy to identify

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Somewhere in Winnipeg, there may be a criminal with a perfectly groomed yard.

A local business owner lost $16,500 worth of yard-care equipment after thieves broke a lock on his Pembina Highway business, then stole equipment inside

Christopher Petch, owner of Allcraft Mechanical at 2739 Pembina Hwy., said thieves stole 15 lawn mowers, three gas trimmers, six snow blowers and three leaf blowers out of a garage on his property sometime in early November.

Petch hopes due to the equipment's unusual bright orange colour, however, someone might recognize the merchandise and alert police.

"You can't miss it," said Petch, who said the theft "sucks" for a small business owner.

All 27 pieces of stolen equipment are of the Husqvarna brand.

It's not the first time Petch, who's owned the business for almost five years, was hit.

He said in late October thieves took a Sea-doo and garden tractor from a front compound after breaking a lock. He said the stolen equipment was covered by insurance, but the break-and-enter still impacts his business.

"Even though the profit margin on selling things like a snow blower is nothing like a car, every bit of extra money counts," he said. "Each snow blower you sell, that's money in the company."

Petch believes he was targeted by someone who has visited the property before, or is familiar with its setup. More than one person was involved, he also believes, and likely used a large vehicle to transport the goods.

"I can't see somebody being stupid enough to take several trips," he said. He hopes people don't try to sell the items online.

"It's a hot market," he said.

Police said Thursday they do not have surveillance footage of the theft, which happened sometime between Nov. 3 to 5. Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said citizens offered yard-care tools at unusually low prices should be sceptical.

He said it appears the theft required "some planning." Buyers should be careful about deals that seem too good to be true, he said, like on a $1,500 snow blower.

"If they're approached and someone's asking them if they would purchase it for $200 or $300, I think that should be a bit of red flag that this item could potentially be a stolen item," he said.

Anyone with information can call investigators at 986-2877 or Crime Stoppers at 786-8477 (TIPS).

 

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2010 B4

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