Crime Stoppers: Expensive Equipment Stolen, Thief Makes Several - WSMV Channel 4

Crime Stoppers: Expensive Equipment Stolen, Thief Makes Several Trips

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Suspect's vehicle, police say it is a dark-colored Ford Explorer. Suspect's vehicle, police say it is a dark-colored Ford Explorer.
Another look at suspect vehicle. Another look at suspect vehicle.
A look at the utility trailer the suspect used to haul vehicles away from Chattanooga Tractor & Equipment A look at the utility trailer the suspect used to haul vehicles away from Chattanooga Tractor & Equipment

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-TV) - Crime Stoppers is on the trail of a thief, this week, who got away with thousands of dollars worth of vehicles after several trips to Chattanooga Tractor & Equipment. "Whatever he could haul is what he got," said company President Randy Topping.

The crime took place in the darkness of the overnight hours on January 27th. "It occurred between 1AM and 4AM," confirmed Chattanooga Police Officer Nathan Hartwig, "and he made numerous trips in and out, hauling different mowers back."

"He took his time about it," Topping explained. "He didn't feel threatened at all and, I guess, he felt sort of sheltered here behind all the inventory we stocked up for this time of year."

The business sits along side normally busy Highway 153, off East Polymer Drive. Surveillance video did not get the crook. "It's funny," Topping said, "we were in the process of putting in security cameras as this happened. In fact, the one that was monitoring the front wasn't quite adjusted like we'd like for it to have been."

The result: no face nor description of a suspect to speak of. But, the camera did get a good look at what he was driving. "It looks like a dark colored Ford Explorer," said Off. Hartwig, "and just a utility trailer."

Pair that with what he hauled away (a New Holland Rustler 4-seat utility vehicle, 2 Bush Hog Z-Turn mowers, tires and other supplies) and you will have identified our criminal. "Depending on how much each one of the mowers was worth," Hartwig added, "that's gonna determine how serious the crime."

That could mean our guy has some serious trouble. "Just the couple of mowers that were stolen were $7,000-$8,000 a piece units," said Topping, "the zero-turn type models from Bush Hog."

If you, yourself, have come across an unbelievable deal on one of these high-end items, recently, be careful. The serial numbers are traceable. "It's disappointing," Topping said. "It's frustrating, people that just think they're entitled to come and get what they can get away with. But, I'd love to catch them. you know, not only to get our inventory back and make ourselves whole, but to get these type of people that are willing to do that sort of thing put behind bars somewhere."

If you have any information that could help solve this expensive crime, call Crime Stoppers at: 698-3333. Up to a thousand dollars is up for grabs to the person with the right tip. And, as always, no one will ever know it was you who made the call.

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