5 On Your Side

Zebulon woman's leaf blower stolen, advertised on Craigslist

Posted November 19, 2012

— Leaf blowers are critical for landscapers. That's why Christy San Juan invested more than $500 in an Echo model for her business.

"It's the power in it,” she said of the blower.

San Juan only had it a year when someone stole it from her work truck in Zebulon. She filed a police report and got on Craigslist to find a replacement. Then she came across an interesting ad on Craigslist posted by Triangle Buy Sell Trade in Durham. The ad was for a leaf blower just like hers!

She thought there was no way the power tool could be hers. But "when i actually got to the store and actually examined it and I'm like, little markings, that's my blower!"

She told the clerk she wanted to check the serial number on her paperwork at home.

"Is there a way you guys can hold it, or anything?” she asked the clerk. “He says, ‘No you have to buy it.’ "

So San Juan shelled out another $320 to buy back her stolen leaf blower.

“It's a lot of money to have to pay out again," she said.

Zebulon woman finds stolen leaf blower on Craigslist Zebulon woman finds stolen leaf blower on Craigslist

Once she verified the serial number, she called Zebulon police. She says she was told to bring in her paperwork and they'd "see what they could do."

"And I was like, ‘See what we can do? I want my money back,’" she said.

San Juan said officers told her she'd have to file a civil suit against the store. She then contacted Durham police and found out her blower serial number was never registered as stolen.

Pawn shops are supposed to supply serial numbers of purchased merchandise to police about once a month, and agencies are supposed to compare reported thefts against those lists.

Weeks passed for San Juan and nothing happened. Finally, she reached out to 5 On Your Side. We called Zebulon police.

"After y’all called the detectives just that very day, it's just like right on the case,” San Juan said. “And I got my money back the very day after."

Zebulon police told us they're not sure what happened with the serial number. They did turn over the case information to Durham police. An arrest warrant was then issued for Thomas Carr, who investigators say sold the blower to the store.

The owner of Triangle Buy Sell and Trade declined to comment and referred us to Durham police.

San Juan said she’s just glad to have her blower and her money back.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • pm2 Nov 29, 2012

    Pawn shops are just a front mostly for stolen items like leaf blowers....everyone including the police know.

  • tootiefrootie Nov 23, 2012

    Iphones are being stolen left and right at high schools. There are groups who prey upon unsuspecting students, if they see you with an Iphone/Droid you are on the list. My daughter was targeted, she had hers hidden at lunch, she turned her head for 20 seconds and it was gone. It was on Craigslist the next morning, exact serial #, the seller claimed it was sold before I could arrange meeting. I gave all the info the appropriate authorities, a theft ring at school is going down and soon.

  • superman Nov 21, 2012

    whatelseisnew--If you ever bought anything at a yard or garage sale you might just have purchased something that was stolen. As a precaution I always lock my house, car and anything else just in case other people arent honest. It might be a shame to have to lock up your property but a good safeguard just in case.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 21, 2012

    should be arresting the store owner for receiving stolen goods.

    " However in the future she shouldnt leave tools or equipment unless it is secured and locked. It is far too easy when you leave a leaf blower in the back of a truck for someone to just walk by and pick it up."

    true, but it is a shame that you have to lock up stuff. As a penalty for the thief, I would give him five years of doing nothing but picking up leaves one at a time on his hands and knees.

  • superman Nov 21, 2012

    She was extremely lucky. However in the future she shouldnt leave tools or equipment unless it is secured and locked. It is far too easy when you leave a leaf blower in the back of a truck for someone to just walk by and pick it up.

  • Titus Pullo Nov 21, 2012

    Know what you are posting about:

    From their web sight:
    "Don’t pawn it, sell it, we pay more. Triangle Buy Sell Trade in Durham is not a pawn shop, it is a new way to shop or sell. We purchase almost anything of value and have a courteous and professional staff to assist you."

    The company is not regulated in the same fashion as are pawn shops. There is virtually no regulation of this type of business.

  • 11of10 Nov 20, 2012

    Glad for the happy ending. Many do not end that way.

  • Glass Half Full Nov 20, 2012

    Sad that 5 On Your Side had to get involved when the rightful owner had done what she was supposed to do. Sad that the police dropped the ball. Good that 5 On Your Side was there to make the right thing happen for the owner. Thanks, Monica, for all you do for folks!

  • superman Nov 20, 2012

    Bet the police department could get a dependable volunteer to check pawn tickets against the stolen reports. The only thing is that it wouldnt work in Durham. The honest dependable people moved out years ago.

  • Scubagirl Nov 20, 2012

    pity it takes 5 ON your side getting involved for folks to do the right thing!