Cathedral School lawnmower stolen

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — When maintenance crews at Cathedral School went to cut the grass Monday, something was missing — a $10,000 lawnmower.

The lawnmower, a 4-year-old, zero turn radius Kubota was missing, as was the lock on the storage building.

“It looks like they tried to cut the chain and couldn’t do that so they just took the lock,” Cathedral Principal Pat Sanguinetti said.

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From tire tracks at the scene, Sanguinetti also suspects the burglars loaded the lawnmower onto a trailer.

The burglary occurred sometime over the weekend, but Sanguinetti had no idea when. It may have even been in the middle of the day, he said.

The Kiwanis Club was cooking out for the Cathedral’s Key Club at the school on Saturday. Sanguinetti plans on asking them if they saw anything, but he doubts they did.

“If you were sitting here and saw a trailer with a Kubota on the back, would you think anything of it?” he asked. “He could have driven it down the center drive and nobody would have thought anything of it. But I don’t think anybody would have the audacity to do that.”

Cathedral also had an air-conditioning unit, a weed trimmer and a chainsaw stolen over the summer, but Sanguinetti doubts that the thieves were planning to do yard work.

“He’s not getting it to cut grass,” he said. “He already had it sold before he took it. And what do you reckon they got for it, $300?”

Sanguinetti has suspects in mind, which he told the police, but he does not expect the mower to be recovered.

“You’re not going to find it again,” he said. “It could be long out of the city by now.”

If the burglar is caught and charged with burglary of a storehouse, he could receive up seven years in jail, assistant district attorney Walt Brown said.

“What’s crazy is if it’s sitting in your back yard, without any breaking and entering, it’s grand larceny and the charge carries up to 10 years,” Brown said. “So they may charge him with that but they can’t charge him with both. That would probably be double dipping.”

And this was not the first time expensive lawn care equipment has gone missing from area schools.

In June, the Natchez-Adams School District had a Feris zero turn radius mower, valued at $8,800, an Exmark zero turn radius mower, valued at $6,600, a trailer valued at $2,500, a blower and weed trimmer, valued at $400 each and the truck that pulled it all, a 2001 Ford F-250, valued at $18,800 stolen from the school bus barn on Lynda Lee Drive. They also had a similar Exmark mower and trailer stolen earlier during the summer.

Police are investigating the burglary and Crimestoppers is offering a cash reward. Anyone with information should call 601-442-5000.