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How Not to Steal Heavy Equipment from Home Depot

I might have passed on this story, but since it’s happening in our backyard, I figured… why not? At least six people have been stealing equipment from Home Depot in central Florida and it wasn’t the brightest operation.

Here’s the basic idea: rent equipment at Home Depot and instead of returning it, sell it on social media.

It’s pretty easy to poke holes in that plan, but the group apparently didn’t think that far ahead. According to a report from local news station Fox 13, utility loaders, stump grinders, trenchers, mini-excavators, and trailers were stolen in at least 50 separate incidents across 16 counties. The total value of the equipment closes in on $600,000.

Six suspects have been arrested on charges of grand theft and scheming to defraud.

Stealing heavy equipment is a bold crime in the first place. Reselling it is even riskier. Advertising it on social media? You’re almost guaranteed somebody you’re trying to avoid is going to notice. Wrapping all of that up in a Home Depot rental package? Like the guys that got caught stuffing lead weights into walleye at a tournament, if you play foolish games, you win foolish prizes.

If you’re interested, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Attorney General Ashley Moody are holding a press conference at 10:30 AM today (April 6) with more information on what was dubbed “Operation Heavy Lift”.