SARASOTA (FOX 13) - A landscape company recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property thanks to a GPS unit installed in the truck the thieves drove to Miami.
Sunday around 7:00 p.m., a group of men cut a hole in a chain-linked fence bordering ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design.
Surveillance video captured the crew pulling on landscaping truck doors and looking for a way inside.
With an axe, they busted through a cinderblock wall and disabled the alarm and phone lines.
For more than two hours, the group loaded up 50 pieces of equipment - valued at $80,500 - into a panel van then fled in a stolen work truck.
"Rooms that are usually full of equipment were empty," Account Manager Jeremy Lepper said. "Mowers, edgers, blowers, weed eaters and trimmers had been stolen."
As they called the sheriff's office, Jeremy got a hunch to check the GPS unit inside the stolen truck, and sure enough, he saw the truck parked in a Miami Gardens neighborhood.
"We had the truck located, and we were able to tell that the truck had been moved and stopped at a location in Miami," Jeremy explained.
He relayed that information to Sarasota detectives who then asked Miami authorities for assistance.
Police matched serial numbers to the missing mowers and arrested Rauniel Quintero, 32, and charged him with dealing with stolen property.
Within 24 hours, the stolen mowers were back in the garage and ready for use, and Jeremy said the GPS system was invaluable.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating this case, and there could be more arrests.