Thief steals $20k in landscape lights from Odessa community

- It's lights out for one Odessa neighborhood. Someone stole more than $20,000 worth of landscape lighting, getting away with 63 out of 90 pieces.

It happened in the Belle Meade community, off Hutchison Road on February 8. Sometime between 8:30 and 10:40 p.m., the man went light-by-light, cutting the wires.

They may be just outdoor lights to some, but the 90-piece set of landscape lights came out of neighbors' HOA dues. So when this thief set his sights on the lights, he stole from all 133 homeowners.

"It was really breathtakingly beautiful," said HOA President Jeanne Sullivan.

And residents said the lights really improved their neighborhood.

"Most of the lights on the exit side, they were gone, gone!" said Teresa Hellings, the former HOA President who lead the project to install the lights. "He must have been hiding in different areas, gathering the lights, clipping them, putting them in the different bushes."

Luckily, the darkness didn't shield the thief from a surveillance camera recording from the guard shack. It caught him stealing the lights before hopping into a vehicle parked across the street.

"Very brazen, I mean, evening time, 9:30 at night, cars driving in and out, it's hard to understand how someone could be so brazen," said Sullivan.

What the thief stole are LED garden lights, which are made in Tampa. Neighbors are certain this larcenist of light was no amateur, and perhaps is someone who works with the equipment and knows their value.

"He knew exactly what he was doing," said Hellings.

The HOA is hoping to replace what was stolen, but not before they upgrade their surveillance cameras.

"If they think they're going to come back and do this to Belle Meade and our neighborhood, they are going to have second thoughts because we will catch you," Hellings said. 

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Thief steals $20k in landscape lights from Odessa community
  • Withlacoochee expected to crest Wednesday
  • Neo-Nazi takes plea deal on explosives charges
  • Polk to use early release days as hurricane make-up days
  • Puerto Ricans on the mainland watch, wait after Maria devastates U.S. territory
  • Polk rejects plan to light road where teen was killed
  • After Dunedin school serves as shelter, 80 books missing from classroom
  • Time drags for those waiting for news from Puerto Rico
  • AMBER ALERT: 4 children missing from Manatee Co.
  • Wisconsin logger helps clear debris after Irma