Chilmark Police recently used GPS tracking to locate a stolen robotic lawnmower, and subsequently apprehended the alleged thief. The lawnmower was reported missing from a North Road property on June 15 by owner Adam Sloan. Chilmark Police Det. Jesse Burton described the mower as a Husqvarna model 435X, with a retail value of $5,199, according to a police report.
Sloan told police the mower was equipped with a GPS tracking mechanism. Sloan also indicated two hours before he called police, GPS placed the mower at the Park and Ride in Tisbury. Burton traveled to the Park and Ride, where he was met by Tisbury Det. Bill Brigham and Officer Andrew Silvia, the report states. The officers attempted to ping the mower.
“The signal appeared to be emanating from a 2017 Chevy Express van,” the report states. “The van was marked Goodman Networks AT&T Authorized Contractor.”
Burton requested Sloan come to the scene. Once there, Sloan used his laptop to activate an alarm in the mower, the report states.
“The sound was clearly coming from inside the van,” the report states. “Officers were not able to see inside the storage compartment of the van, as it lacked windows.”
Burton ordered the van towed to the West Tisbury Police Station while a search warrant was sought.
Edgartown District Court Clerk-Magistrate Liza Williamson authorized one the following day.
Officer William Fielder joined Burton at the West Tisbury Police Station, and they conducted a search of the van in the presence of West Tisbury Police Sgt. Garrison Vieira, the report states. When officers gained entry into the cargo area, they found the lawnmower amid satellite television equipment, the report states. It was taken to an evidence locker at the Chilmark Police Station. Various clues inside the vehicle led Burton to seek an arrest warrant for a 45-year-old Fall River man who works for Goodman Networks. His name was redacted, citing criminal history regulations.
Chilmark Police made contact with the man, and learned he was traveling to the Vineyard to discuss the lawnmower. On June 17, Burton and Tisbury Officer Scott Ogden met the individual at the Steamship Authority terminal, where he was read his Miranda rights and detained on suspicion of larceny over $1,000 and receiving stolen property, the report states.
Asked how the lawnmower came to be in his work van, the man stated he saw the mower on the side of the road.
“He then turned around and came back and grabbed it,” the report states. The man told police “he thought it was a kid’s toy, a remote control car. It should be noted that the lawn mower is clearly marked Husqvarna Auto Mower, and weighs 17.3 KG,” the report states. The man further told police “the lawn mower began to alarm as he was driving, yet he continued driving to the park and ride lot,” the report states. “He stated that he took the shuttle to catch the [5 pm] ferry back to Woods Hole, and that his plan was to look at the device when he returned to see if he could get a remote to get it to work.”
Upon hearing the suspect’s description of his own actions, Chilmark Police formally arrested him.
The man was later identified as Carlos Soares Carvlho. Carvlho is slated for arraignment on July 10.
Sloan told The Times he owns a business on-Island called Greener, which offers robotic mowers.
“We’ve got 20 of them running on-Island,” he said. “I got enamored by the robots, and I think [they] can really help landscapers.”
Sloan said all his mowers have pet names, and the one that was taken is called “Simba.” He joked that Simba was now in the witness protection program.
He thanked the Chilmark Police for their work. “I really appreciate their responsiveness,” he said. “All of this was handled in a professional manner.”