ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) - One St. Martin couple’s lawnmower business is their livelihood but after a thief thousands of dollars worth of their equipment, the couple is now trying to put the pieces back together.
Brandy and Oakley Phillips are the owners of Mow Better, a lawn service business, were the victims of theft this week when the trailer they use to carry equipment was stolen from their own driveway.
"Our sense of security was completely taken away,” said Brandy.
“I was gone pressure-washing Walmarts in Waveland and Pass Christian late," said Oakley. "The one time that I was actually gone and wasn’t in front of the trailer, it happened to get stolen that night.”
Surveillance video shows a vehicle that appears to be a SUV entering the neighborhood at 3:34 a.m. with its lights on. Just 16 minutes later, that same vehicle is seen leaving the neighborhood - this time, with its lights turned off and a trailer in tow.
Inside the trailer was thousands of dollars worth of equipment the couple uses to maintain the lawns of their clients.
“(There was) a $10,000 mower in there. It was full of weeders, edgers, mowers, sprayer... Everything you need to run a commercial lawn service," said Oakley.
The total estimated loss of equipment that was stolen from the Phillips is put at $25,000.
Residents in the area have noticed an increase in petty crime. In November, two men were arrested for stealing 66 batteries out of St. Martin school buses in their neighborhood.
“Cameras have seen people trying to open their car doors,” said Brandi.
But the couple is trying to focus on the positive. The setback showed them how quickly people were willing to help out.
“People have actually contacted us, other lawn places offering their equipment to use until we get back what we need,” said Brandy,
The Phillips say they hope the crimes stop soon and plan to upgrade their security plan in the future.
“You know better, you Mow Better," quipped Oakley.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft. If anyone has any information about the stolen trailer or any of the items inside, please contact investigators at 228-769-3036 or make anonymous tips to Mississippi Coast Crimestoppers online or by calling 877-787-5898.