Huntsville Police: Utility Trailer Thefts a Trend This Season

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville Police say this season in particular they have seen a rise in incidents of utility trailer thefts. Police say the motive behind the trailer heists may surprise you.

"Of course, during warm weather utility trailers with the lawn care equipment do become a target because the crews are busy doing lawn care services," says Investigator John Cole with Huntsville Police Department's south precinct.

Police say the motive usually does not come from thieves coveting the commodity for themselves - at least not directly.

"A lot of it is drug related," Cole reveals. "They'll snatch one up and go sell it for scrap and get $100 bucks or whatever they can get."

Many may think trailers difficult items to steal given their sheer heft. But Investigator Cole says he worked a case recently where a thief snatched a trailer right out of a south Huntsville victim's front yard in broad daylight; Cole says many victims get lulled into a false sense of security.

"Due to the fact they feel they live in a nice neighborhood and that insulates them from normal crimes like that - but that's just not the case - they'll come into the nice neighborhoods looking for the nice equipment to steal."

In fact in a recent case, police found thieves bent on swiping trailers are not scared of a challenge, either.

"They took it during the middle of the night and there was probably 4 or 5 grown men that had to physically lift the trailer up and shift it away from the house and then they drug it with the tongue down through the neighbor's yard and you could see the trench that it dug."

Police say the big message is: no one is immune. Obviously, they say, storing a trailer in a building or a fenced-in area is the best option.

But police also recommend owners put a lock on trailer couplings or even chain a lock from the rim of the tire to the trailer axel.

Still, police say these measures will likely only slow determined thieves down - so keep equipment out of plain sight.