SUMNER, Wash. -- The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force is asking for the public’s help to solve the burglary of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment at Washington Tractor.
It happened at 2700 136th Ave Ct. E. in Sumner early Saturday morning (Oct. 13), according to police. The company sells mowers, tractors and other equipment for commercial and residential use.
“It was a burglary in progress,” said Max Hospenthal, who was not expecting to watch a crime in action when he woke up at 2 a.m. Saturday and picked up his phone like he usually does.
“When I wake up, I usually check my phone,” said Hospenthal, who has worked at Washington Tractor since he was 16 years old.
Hospenthal has access to the security cameras on his phone and noticed the front gate was open and one of the trucks was gone.
“I knew there was something up, and I ran downstairs grabbed my home phone and called the cops," he said.
He says a couple men came to the business in a silver pick-up, cut the cables on the front gate and made their way inside.
“They were picking out equipment, they must’ve had a shopping list or somebody wanted something in particular, because they had taken the same brand of everything,” said Hospenthal. He added the men loaded the truck with four commercial lawn mowers and another standard mower.
“They’re built heavy, they’re high quality machines, and in high demand and expensive. I could see a black market for them being very big,” said Hospenthal.
Based on his surveillance footage, he believes the men loaded all of the equipment onto the truck in about two hours and managed to drive it out of the front gate before police arrived.
Hospenthal says the truck was recovered but not the mowers. He says Washington Tractor has had equipment stolen before but there is security all around the business and the hopes these men get caught.
The crooks stole an International 4000 semi with WA license plate B15129G.
If you can help officers by reading the license plate number on the suspects' truck or recognize either of the men, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County will pay you a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest and charges in the case.
Call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or use the P3 Tips App on your phone. If you spot the suspects or the stolen items, call 911 immediately.