Franklin suspects caught on camera in lawnmower theft

FRANKLIN, Ind (WISH) — Thieves in Franklin got away with a lawnmower priced over $8,000.

It happened last Sunday at Premier Outdoor on Westview Drive near US 31. The store’s security cameras captured it plus one other incident on camera.

Police are hoping the sloppiness in the first video will lead to clues as to who is responsible for the theft in the second video. Surveillance cameras captured the first video on late Friday, September 16. You see two men pull up in what police believe to be a Nissan Pathfinder SUV. They’re not checking out the lawn mower, however.

“They had no interest in the mower. They weren’t looking at the mower. They weren’t looking at anything else. It was absolutely, strictly just how is it cabled up? How can we get it out of here,” said Premier Outdoor owner Jerry Rode.

Rode shared the video in hopes that the two men would be identified. They didn’t cover their faces. Their clothes aren’t tough to make out. You see them exam the security cable and even get on the mower. It appears they’re trying to figure it out, before they drive off. Franklin Police Detective Adam Joseph says their behavior is not consistent with somebody interested in buying one.

“They’re tugging on the safety cable, sitting on the lawn mower. That, obviously, raises some concerns with us. Which is why we want to talk to them,” said Joseph.

Then, early Sunday morning on September 18, a group of three walks up and cuts the cable. One gets on the mower, and drives off. Police say they drove to a nearby parking lot and loaded it into an SUV.

The lawn mower is a 2015 Dixie Chopper with a commercial engine. Rode says it’s not a typical residential mower, and is often used for commercial reasons. He says the retail price is around $8,500.

It appears the suspects knew exactly what they were doing, and how to operate the mower. The video shows them walk up and in about a minute, take off with it.

“The guy that drove off with it, he knew what he was doing. He’s familiar with that particular mower; where the emergency break or the parking break was located,” said Rode.

Police are calling the two men in the first video persons of interest in the theft.

“Obviously it raises concerns that the same mower that those two individuals on Friday were looking at is the same mower that is subsequently stolen,” said Detective Joseph.

Rode added, “We’re probably not the first and unless they’re caught, we’re not going to be the last.”

The lawn mower is a 2015 Dixie Chopper, model 2550, 50″ cut.

Police believe the suspects drove a Nissan Pathfinder.

If you have any information that could help in this investigation, call the Franklin Police Department at 317-736-3670.

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