Chilmark Police nab alleged robo-mower thief

GPS led police to the van where the stolen mower was located.

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Police found this stolen robo-mower in the back of a van parked at the Tisbury park n' ride.

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.” 

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. What a great story handled so perfectly by the police. Who knew [alleged] crooks could be so dumb? Does this guy see a bike at the side of the road and think he should go grab it?

  2. The thief well deserves prosecution, time served and whatever the courts throw at him. On a related note I cannot believe we now have $5K robomowers on MV. I’m no martyr, but clearly am in the minority as I still cut my own grass, tend my own garden and yard. Alas my pockets are not so deep as to afford at-hire ‘scapers to manicure my property. Just rubs me wrong that folks are either unwilling or just too lazy to care for their property. $5K for a mower…just plain crazy.

    • I saw this mower as I drove down North Rd., probably on the same day it was grabbed. It was right on the edge of the road, moving along at a good pace and it startled me for a second. Having worked on the property for 11 years and remembering the hard work the caretaker put into grooming the lawns, I had to smile at this little gizmo. As for “unwilling or just too lazy,” this was the old Blueberry Hill property. Large swaths of grass that could take all day to mow. If they can afford the 5k plus, and have better things to do with their time, who’s to begrudge them their choice?

    • If your annual income is north of 100k a 5K lawn mower makes perfect sense.
      Particularly if it does not spew crap in the air and is essentially silent.

  3. srfrejoles73,

    “ I still cut my own grass, tend my own garden and yard.”

    So do I. And I agree with what you say regarding the theft.

    But, regarding the mowing and upkeep…what if the person or persons who own the property can no longer physically keep up with the chores?

    My thought is that you and I are extremely lucky that we still can mow our grass and tend our gardens!

    For the lawn I do not use my tractor. I use my 80 volt cordless brushless self propelled lawn mower w/no self propulsion. 📬🏡🚜

    :-^

  4. Of late, there have been a lot of things stolen here…kayaks, bikes, and now lawnmowers. It appears that the days of leaving things on our ‘private’ property are over.

    • But we should defund the police departments because we don’t need them…I am sure we can police ourselves as well as the CHAZ folks in Seattle!

        • Have you clicked on basically any random post on this website. There are a few commenters that typically make the comments on every article political regardless of the article topic. At least my light hearted comment was on topic!

    • My parents had their boat stolen down here like 40 years ago. It hasn’t changed, news just travels further.

  5. Sigh, defunding the police doesn’t mean getting rid of them entirely. It means to better define their job and stop using them to tackle every societal ill. They are trained and equipped with use of force, and so they should be used primarily in situations that call for it.

    And can we be real? If there wasn’t a GPS and alarm system attached to the mower, that thing would be long gone.

    If your point relies solely on low-hanging fruit (most reasonable people would see CHAZ as ridiculous), then maybe your point and the parallel you’re attempting to draw isn’t as good as you think it is.

    • It’s hyperbole…of course MV is not Seattle. My point stands, you reduce policing through defunding and this type of activity becomes more common place. I completely agree on the fact that police are not social workers and should not be used as such, they aren’t trained for that and should not be expected to act as such. Perhaps you can look to other bloated government agencies if you would like to repurpose tax dollars.

  6. Defunding is not necessarily a bad thing as it doesn’t mean getting rid of any police departments but rather prioritizing the importance of things that matter…using 3 towns police departments (Chilmark, Tisbury and West Tisbury according to this article) to solve the big case of a lawn mower gone missing is just the very reason police departments should be defunded!!!

    • Grand larceny does not warrant police intervention? I think you would sing a different tune if someone stole $5k of your property.

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