Thieves target Mt. Carmel Elementary School multiple times

$10K in lawn equipment taken
Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 7:06 PM CDT
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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Who would steal from an elementary school?

That's what the staff at Mount Carmel is asking after thieves targeted the Madison County school not once, but twice in recent weeks, clearing out their storage shed.

Rhonda Booth, the principal at Mount Carmel Elementary, says more than $10,000 worth of lawn equipment was taken from their storage building behind the school in separate break-ins.

"It's disconcerting to know this is happening in our community," she said.

The tracks are still visible in the grass showing how the culprits took everything up a hill and loaded it up in a nearby subdivision.

"We have had push mowers stolen, as well as our commercial zero turn lawn mower, which was quite expensive, blowers, hedgers, edgers, basically any kind of lawn equipment you can think of. They've come two different times and basically cleaned us out," Booth stated.

There's photos and video of what officials think could be two trucks involved in the crimes. One is a white pickup. There's a long board with a red flag on the end in the bed of the truck. The other appears to be a burgundy pickup. Both had trailers hauling the stolen equipment away.

“We know that the last time they came, they parked in the Mount Carmel subdivision and walked down the hill to our school so I know residents are concerned about what’s going on in the area,” Booth said.

The school takes pride in the upkeep of their immaculate, large campus so the crimes happened at a bad time as the staff and students get ready to come back to school.

A large tractor is the only thing that's left.

The school also needs to build a new playground for the smallest children. It was built to go up to fifth grade and they no longer have fourth and fifth graders anymore and they’ve added Pre-K.

“So a lot of our playground equipment is not really age appropriate for our Pre-k and kindergarten students. So we chose a spot where we’re going to build a playground for the youngest students,” Booth explained.

They met with a company and had renderings done and they’ve setting money aside wherever they could to fund the program.

"We were ready to move forward with it and then this happened. It's going to be quite expensive to replace all of that lawn equipment. So these people are really stealing from the hands of the youngest children that we have here at Mt. Carmel so it's hard to believe that someone would do that but they have so it's been a setback for us," Booth added.

Central Office is helping with grass cutting equipment for the time being.

“We want whoever did this to be caught and brought to justice. Ultimately, we would love to get our equipment back as well,” Booth stated. “We would love for someone to recognize the truck. There are some distinguishing features. We would love for someone to call if they know who it is so we can get these people off the street.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

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