London Police and the German Canadian Football Club are asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for a valuable riding lawnmower that was stolen by a pair of brazen thieves in an early morning break-in last week.
It was around 4:20 a.m. on Sept. 13 when two men were caught on surveillance camera entering the club’s grounds on Cove Rd. and making their way toward the John Deere mower.
“It was kind of unusual,” said Juergen Belle, president of the German Canadian Club and German Canadian Football Club. “That, to me, meant that someone had actually been there a number of times figuring out to do what they did, and that was take the mower.”
According to Belle, a truck could be seen entering the grounds through a south gate.
“One individual seemed to know where our gates were, and he undid the boards on the gate and opened the gate and the truck came in and backed up to where the mower was,” Belle said.
At one point during the incident, the pair were forced to turn off the truck’s lights to avoid being spotted by a waste management crew who had arrived to clear the club’s dumpsters on the other side of the building, Belle said.
“We caught the entire act from the time that they came at about 4:20 to the time that they left in some large-sized truck with the mower strapped to the back of it, and that was about 4:41,” Belle said.
It wasn’t until Belle went to the grounds later in the day to do some chores that he realized the mower was missing.
“Some of the accessories that were on the mower were laying on the ground where the mower should have been, and then I realized the mower was gone,” Belle said. “I checked everywhere around the grounds thinking maybe it had been moved, because I have some people using it every once and a while, but I determined after some investigation that it was missing.”
The not-for-profit club is offering the public a $1,000 reward for the return of the $5,000 mower, a 2014 John Deere X300, serial number 1M0X300CLEM294976, or information leading to the arrest of those involved in the theft, Belle said.
“We spent many, many years trying to raise the funds to buy this second mower because of the size of the facility, because we as the German Canadian Football Club take care of the entire facility on behalf of the German Canadian Club.”
Belle says the club has been the target of several thefts and break-ins over the past 18 months.
“It’s really, really angered me,” he said of last week’s theft. “I was upset for a while there. [..] It’s just unfortunate that people do this kind of thing.”
(With files from Natalie Lovie)