Police: Fall River Man Who Stole Robotic Lawnmower Foiled By GPS
A smart lawnmower may have outsmarted an alleged thief.
Police on Martha's Vineyard say a man stole a state-of-the-art robotic lawnmower from a Chilmark property – and that the mower's GPS and Bluetooth technology led them to the suspect.
Although the suspect's name is redacted in an incident report provided by the Chilmark Police Department, the Vineyard Gazette identifies the alleged thief as Carlos Soares Carvalho, 45, of Fall River.
Chilmark Police say on the evening of June 15 property owner Adam Sloan alerted them to the theft of his Husqvarna 435X robotic lawnmower – an all-wheel-drive grass-eating remote-controlled "smart" gadget. The robotic lawnmowers go for about $5,000 each.
Sloan told police his lawnmower had recently "pinged" from the Tisbury Park-and-Ride lot. At the lot, police scanned for Bluetooth devices and Sloan used his laptop to remotely activate the lawnmower's alarm. An alarm then came ringing from a windowless 2017 Chevy Express van marked "Goodman Networks AT&T Authorized Contractor," according to the report generated by Chilmark Police.
Police say they towed the van, secured a search warrant, entered the vehicle using a lockout kit, and found the mower in the cargo area along with some satellite TV hardware. Police identified the driver from his New Hampshire employer and applied for an arrest warrant. The next day officers met up with Carvalho at the Steamship Authority ferry terminal and took him into custody.
According to police, the suspect said he was driving down North Road in his work van when he saw the robot near a stone wall, turned around, and grabbed it. He allegedly told police he thought it was a child's toy or some sort of remote-controlled car.
"It should be noted that the lawnmower is clearly marked Husqvarna Auto Mower and weighs 17.3 KG," the report filed by Det. Jesse Burton states.
Carvalho was booked without incident. He is charged with larceny over $1,200 and receiving stolen property. He is slated for arraignment on July 10.