Police investigating string of shed break-ins

Since the start of the summer, about 20 residents have discovered their lawn tools and equipment were stolen when they’ve headed outside to do their lawn work.

Police have been called multiple times this summer when residents have discovered their sheds or mini-barns have been broken into and multiple items, from lawnmowers to tools, have been stolen.

The reports have come from across the county, from Greenwood to New Whiteland to unincorporated Johnson County.

In Greenwood, at least 15 reports have been made in the past two months, police department spokeswoman Kortney Burrello said. Last week, a resident in Grassy Creek Commons reported someone broke into a shed and stole multiple items.

The sheriff’s office has taken a few reports as well, investigations commander Maj. Bob Sexton said.

A week ago in New Whiteland, a resident went to get his lawnmower and found the lock popped off his shed, and tools and lawn equipment from inside were gone, according to the police said.

A sheriff’s office investigator noticed the report was similar to cases he had been looking into. Now, Greenwood police also are working with the sheriff’s office on their cases, Burrello said.

One angle they are pursuing is if anyone sold multiple items, such as lawnmowers, at local pawn shops, Burrello and Sexton said.

No one has been arrested, and police are continuing to investigate.

But they also want residents to be aware of the thefts and to take measures to protect themselves.

One of the first steps is to lock their sheds, Burrello said. In some of the recent thefts, the shed either had no lock or the resident forgot to put the lock on, she said.

Another step is to record the serial numbers from your tools and other items. That way, if someone tries to sell the items at a pawn shop, both the police and the shop will be notified if the item has been reported stolen, she said. She also recommends people put sensor-activated lights on their sheds and other storage buildings, so they will light up when people are nearby.

Police also want residents to be more aware, since they also have seen an increase in vehicle break-ins and business thefts recently, Burrello said.

At a glance

Here are some tips from police about how to protect yourself from theft:

  • Be sure your shed or mini-barn has a lock, and that it is locked. Several recent thefts have been from unlocked sheds.
  • Install lighting that is turned on with a sensor that detects movement. You can also just have a light in that area of your property.
  • Keep track of your serial numbers on lawnmowers and other tools and equipment so if someone tries to sell those items, police and the pawn shop will know they are stolen.
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.