Owners Suspect Crime Ring Behind Chainsaw Thefts

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Several business owners across the mid-state said they suspect a crime ring is behind a rash of chainsaw thefts this year.

Most recently, someone broke into Kelton's Hardware & Pet in Murfreesboro and stole 17 STIHL chainsaws from the shelves. 

Jason Kelton, the owner, showed surveillance video of an SUV entering the property around 3:45 am on Saturday. 

It only took a matter of minutes for the culprits to shatter the glass door and get away with approximately $8,300 worth of chainsaws. 

"There's been a lot of hurricanes so there is a good possibility they're reselling the equipment to hurricane-ravaged cities. They may be reselling those on the black market," said Kelton. 

Kelton's family has operated the business since the 60's and expanded the store several years ago. While the chainsaws have been replaced and the door remained boarded up, it's a type of crime that has taken away more than one could realize.

"You're stealing from family, you're stealing from employees, me and my kids, it's personal," added Kelton.

Kelton said there have been other STIHL dealers across the mid-state that have been targeted before. 

"The similarities between the burglaries from our dealership to our dealerships is uncanny. I do believe it's a ring of individuals going around," suggested Kelton.

In Chapel Hill, Daryl Pardee said his business was also burglarized several months ago.

"He got six saws in less than two minutes and he was out of here. It's not cheap, I mean that's a violation of privacy when somebody gets in your business after hours," Pardee told NewsChannel 5.

Pardee has owned Chapel Hill Outdoor & Power for the past five years. He knows of at least five other companies across the region to experience a similar issue. 

"Get a job, earn your money, don't take it from somebody else," urged Pardee. 

In March, officials with the Franklin Police Department released surveillance video of a similar burglary at the Kubota dealership on Columbia Avenue.

The incident occurred around 10:30 p.m. as the burglar used a crowbar to enter the store and take off with several power saw into an SUV, possibly a Chevy Traverse. 

Call authorities if you have information. 

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