Stihl-ers: Is A Middle Tennessee Crime Ring Stealing Chainsaws?

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FRANKLIN, TN — A recent rash of robberies of chainsaws and power saws from Middle Tennessee hardware stores is raising the specter of a crime ring targeting high-end power tools.

Jason Kelton, owner of Kelton’s Hardware and Pet in Murfreesboro, told Channel 5 someone backed an SUV up to his store at 3:45 Saturday morning and made off with 17 Stihl chainsaws, worth more than $8,000. He said other area Stihl dealers reported thefts with similar modi operandi.

Kelton told the station that the similarities are too striking to be coincidence and he thinks the thieves may be part of a ring taking advantage of recent hurricanes.

“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,” he told the station. “The similarities between the burglaries from our dealership to our dealerships is uncanny. I do believe it’s a ring of individuals going around.”

A hardware store owner in Chapel Hill told the station he knew of at least six stores, including his own, hit by chainsaw thieves. In March, Franklin Police released surveillance footage of a man stealing a power saw from a Kubota dealer and loading it into an SUV, believed to be a Chevy Traverse.

Image via Franklin Police