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Sleuthing gets mowers back for Hutchins

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RUSTY WELLER/Ellis County Press Managing Editor

HUTCHINS - Victims of a string of lawn mower thefts didn't expect to get their property back. They just wanted the stealing to stop.

Some good sleuthing by the Hutchins Police Department and some wary citizens, however, not only caught the culprit but returned all the stolen property.

Police Chief R.D. Hutcherson used some great bait, positioning a nice-looking red mower in an attractive spot to lure the thief. He then had officers watch the location.

'We knew from citizen reports what type of vehicle to watch for,' Hutcherson said. 'On one of the previous thefts, a witness followed a suspect to a Dallas location.'

Patience paid off. On the third day, a man drove up near the mower, got out and looked at it. Spotting the officer, though, the suspect walked over to a woman and asked if she needed yard help. The suspect then drove off.

'We didn't stop him,' Hutcherson said. 'Instead Assistant Chief David Landers followed him in an unmarked car. The second area he led us to was the same as the one the citizen had reported.'

Landers investigated the shop and positively identified several mowers. In all, eight mowers were recovered, along with two trimmers, a VCR and TV. All of the missing mowers were returned to Hutchins residents.

'Since we got this guy, no more mowers have been stolen,' Hutcherson said. 'Citizens helped us and we had officers out in the heat three days and it paid off.'

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