Oh mow! Police use tech to trip up mower theft suspect

Oh mow! Police use tech to trip up mower theft suspect
Photo courtesy of the the St. Helens Police Department.

ST. HELENS, Ore. - St. Helens police made an arrest over the weekend after they said a thief tried to steal an expensive riding mower from a local business.

Police said the case began on Friday when they looked into a report of a hole being cut in a security fence at Sunset Equipment on Port Avenue.

Investigators found a $1,700 Husqvarna riding lawn mower nearby obscured by blackberry brambles and wood pallets.

Instead of returning the mower to the business, police attached a motion-sensing silent alarm to the machine and waited for the thief to return.

On Saturday at about 2 p.m., the alarm activated and police pulled over a man driving a vehicle towing a small utility trailer with a riding mower in it.

Upon questioning, police said Michael Wayne McElroy, 34, of Gresham, "could not adequately explain" how he came to have the mower in his possession.

He was arrested on theft, trespassing and criminal mischief charges and taken to the Columbia County Jail.

The mower was returned to the business in like-new condition, according to Lt. Terry Moss with the St. Helens police department.