73 landscape trailers stolen this year in Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So far this year, 73 landscape trailers have been stolen, along with their contents, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

It's a theft rate that's doubled over the same period in 2012.

The thefts include 23 in March and 21 so far in April.

"All they do is back up to the trailer, attach it to the hitch and they're gone within seconds with your property," JSO spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said. "And a lot of these people, it's their livelihood -- they're lawn equipment -- and now they can't do their job."

Bujeda said every part of town is being hit, and thieves are striking at all hours of the day.

Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said a big reason behind the increase is the high-value items typically inside them.

"Your trimmers, your hedges your moors and things like that," Jefferson said. "Those sorts of items are in high demand, and the thieves can get a high price for it because of that demand."

Until the thieves are caught, police say there are a number of things trailer owners can do so they don't become the next victim.

"Take the extra step. If the trailer isn't going to be hitched to the vehicle, put a lock on the trailer itself so something can't hitch onto the trailer," Bujeda said. "It's a simple thing. It takes five minutes of your time, but it safeguards your property."

JSO hasn't had much luck recovering these stolen trailers primarily because they don't have a VIN number or any special identifiable markers, like a sticker or a name on them.

Anyone with any information about the thefts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.