Mower Depot fighting back against theft, kickstarts outdoor power community watch
Following a recent larceny, the staff at Mower Depot are working to raise awareness of power tool thieves with the launch of a closed Facebook outdoor power community watch group, where dealers, store owners and employees can post information regarding burglaries, larcenies and suspicious persons to help minimize shoplifting.
The group was started by Mower Depot Office Manager Brandy Snyder on Monday, July 9, because two unknown men stole a chainsaw, valued at $1,200, at around 3:43 p.m. on Friday, July 6, according to the Ormond Beach Police Department. She said she just wants local dealers to know to look out for the suspects, their vehicles and any others that may arise in the near future.
This is not the first time Mower Depot has had merchandise stolen. Back in early October, the store was burglarized overnight and $5,000 worth of items were taken. It was the third time in five years the store had been broken into.
The store's most recent larceny involved a white man and a black man who lingered around the store for approximately 30 minutes, appearing to be considering purchasing a chainsaw.
“There were no red flags or anything right away," Snyder said.
Snyder said they roused suspicion when they continuously entered and exited the store. She said the black suspect grabbed a Stihl Chainsaw MS661, still in a box, as if he were reading what was on it, even though the words on the box were German. He eased his way to the entrance little by little, until an employee noticed and he fled through the front entrance.
The suspects drove away in a black Jeep Wrangler, and police reported it appeared the tag was covered with a piece of paper. Snyder added that the Jeep also had an illegal window tint, so dark "you couldn't even tell there was a driver in there."
The larceny also follows a recent plague of fake checks used to buy merchandise at Mower Depot, and the store is now enforcing a thumb print scan for each check purchase.
For Snyder, the situation is frustrating from more than just a business standpoint.
“When something like this happens, everybody’s on their toes and then you’re wondering if something’s going to happen at night afterwards," Snyder said.
Store owner Scott Edwards later contacted a fellow dealer, South Daytona Tractor, who informed him a similar event happened to him twice in two weeks.
“It was like, well you know, it kind of would have been nice to know," Snyder said.
That is where the Facebook group would come in. Those verified members of the outdoor power community will be able to exchange information and surveillance stills quickly as both a preventative and proactive measure. The membership is small, Snyder said, but she hopes it will soon grow.
It could even help solve their own case.
“Say if another dealer sees this and then it just so happens they see these guys in their store, they can at least call the non-emergency line and go ‘hey, I see some suspicious people in my store," Snyder said.