Landscapers step up to help industry colleague hit by theft

Greg Cunningham, the owner of Ground Care Landscaping. He started the company back in 2004. Photo: Ground Care LandscapingGreg Cunningham, the owner of Ground Care Landscaping. He started the company back in 2004.
Photo: Ground Care Landscaping

Last week a landscaping company in North Andover, Massachusetts, was robbed of close to $4,000 in equipment, despite having a number of deterrents.

The theft happened around 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5. It took a grand total of 30 minutes for the perpetrators to make off with hedge trimmers and backpack leaf blowers, along with other equipment, according to police.

Ground Care Landscaping’s property is surrounded by fences, which are locked at the end of the day, and the equipment is stored in several locked enclosed trailers. The thieves simply broke off the locks.

“(The fences) only keep the good people out,” Greg Cunningham, owner of Ground Care Landscaping told the Eagle-Tribune. “They don’t keep thieves out.”

A surveillance camera shows a suspect made seven trips from the trailer to a getaway car, while another helped load the vehicle.

According to Cunningham, each of the leaf blowers cost about $600. The loss will be a blow to the company’s cash flow, he said, especially at this busy time of the year.

“Customers want their lawns and yards to look nice after the winter, but some of our bigger accounts don’t normally pay us until later,” Cunningham said. “Dishing out a couple thousand dollars right now to replace the equipment definitely hurt us.”

When the company took to the news and social media to spread the word about their misfortune, fellow landscape contractors that Cunningham both knew and didn’t know responded by offering some of their equipment until Ground Care could get things sorted out.

“It’s nice to see how the industry helps each other out,” Cunningham said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Even Mother Nature lent a hand, as the recent snow allowed the company the time it needed to repurchase everything. Cunningham called back all who had offered to help to thank them and offer them the same if they ever needed help.

Despite not losing much productivity, Cunningham still feels bad for his employees.

“My whole crew has worked so hard to earn this equipment, that for someone to take it all is really disappointing,” Cunningham said. “They (the thieves) could have made more money working for me than he would selling the equipment. I wish they could have gotten money another way.”

Cunningham is looking into having the trailer locks not on the outside, but he has heard of thieves cutting through the sides of trailers before.

“It’s unfortunate, but there’s not much you can do if they really want to get in there,” he said.

The police do not have any leads as of yet, but Cunningham is still hopeful the thieves will slip up and get caught so he can recover his equipment.

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