Thief steals $25,000 worth of equipment from St. Pete landscaping business

Equipment stolen from St. Pete landscaping company

Briona Arradondo reports

A thief stole about $25,000 worth of equipment and heavy machinery from a St. Petersburg tree and landscaping business, and the owner hopes the community will help him find who’s responsible.

Filing a police report was the last thing Ronnie Pownall expected after Christmas. He owns Tree Ninjas Tree Services on 38th Avenue North in St. Pete.

“So I gave the guys off and come back to my property to find out my equipment and my skid steer and a lot of things were stolen off the property,” said Pownall.

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He said a thief hit his business on Wednesday around 12:30 am, driving up to the entrance overnight and using bolt cutters to cut through the property’s gate. The St. Pete Police Department is investigating the burglary and theft of the trailer.

“We had a 20-foot equipment trailer that is double axel. We had a skid steer that was tied down. It says Tree Ninjas all over it the skid steer. It’s blacked out but has our logo on it,” said Pownall. “There was a pink scooter and a black gas-powered bicycle stolen along with other things.”

Pownall said the burglar drove a white Chevy truck, and surveillance video shows the car driving by without the trailer then later hauling it away.

“The main equipment that was stolen is called a Vermeer skid steer. It’s a grapple that picks up the tree trunks. It’s only 36 inches wide, brings it from the back yard to the front yard,” said Pownall.

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The machinery does heavy lifting and not just for trees.

“Mainly for me, this was the main source of income we have to provide for my employees and their children and their families. Now, we’re ready to go back to work next week, and we’re like we don’t have the proper equipment,” Pownall said.

So the owner is determined to get answers, posting photos and security clips in social media groups.

“People from the city have been helping try to locate this,” said Pownall.

He has faith someone will find his property or at least share information to help.

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“Somebody stole this. Please help us find it somewhere, somehow, help us get back to working,” said Pownall.

The owner said he is increasing the security to his equipment and the property after what happened. He hopes the community and police will help catch the thief and return what was stolen.

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