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Thieves take THS turf tools
turf equip2
Thieves stole the equipment used by Turlock High Schools Principles of Turf Grass Management over the winter break, leaving the 20 students enrolled in the class with no tools to care for the softball and baseball fields. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Turlock High School agriculture class designed to give students some real world experience in growing and maintaining turf grass is going to be a lot less hands-on after thieves stole the school’s equipment sometime over the winter break.

The culprit(s) broke into an outside storage container and stole the equipment used by the Principles of Turf Grass Management. The stolen equipment included four commercial Honda push lawnmowers, a walk behind edger, a long shaft rolling edger, a string trimmer, two leaf blowers, one gas hedge trimmer, and four five-gallon gas cans, red and yellow in color. The purloined tools have an estimated value of $15,000, said THS Principal Marie Peterson.

The area where the equipment was stolen from has been the site of multiple break-ins over the last year. In addition to the recent theft, about a dozen small engines were stolen during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The school is hoping to curb the rash of thefts by installing a fabricated fence around that area. The fence project was in the works when students left for winter break and is set to be completed later this week, Peterson said.

“The students in this class were just gearing up to work on the softball and baseball fields, so we are all obviously upset and hope that whoever stole this equipment will be apprehended,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the class will continue this semester with a larger focus on classroom instruction. The school also received a grant to grow turf grass test plots that will begin in the spring.

“Unfortunately, we don't have the funds on hand to replace all this equipment,” Peterson said. “We will need to make a decision about whether we will be able to continue this class in the future.”

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact the Turlock Police Department at 668-5550.