Zebulon, N.C. — 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.
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.