A lawn mower and trailer being raffled off for a local charity has been stolen.
Jerry Greer, president of We Care of Franklin County, said the trailer was found in Henry County but the Husqvarna lawn tractor that sat on it has not.
Greer said the mower and trailer were parked in front of the Pit Stop Store at 6900 Virgil H. Goode Highway near Sontag Road. He said the theft occurred sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday, May 7 or in the early hours of Friday morning.
The mower and trailer were both part of a raffle that would have been held Sunday, June 21 and benefited We Care and Crossroads Ruritan.
“It’s terrible for the people we help,” Greer said. “I can’t imagine anyone who knows what we do would do this.”
This was not the first time this has happened to the organization. Greer said two years ago their tractor was taken but was found the same day with no damage. He explained that if the organization does not display the tractor that’s being raffled, sales plummet.
“If you don’t put it out (on display), you can’t sell enough tickets,” Greer said adding sales were already down due to the pandemic this year. The drawing usually takes place during the Antique Farm Days, which has been canceled this year further hurting the raffle sales.
The tractor and trailer were valued at $6,000 and were not free to the organizations conducting the raffle, which means they are out the cost of the equipment, as well as any proceeds from the raffle they would have collected up until the drawing. He said the raffle brings in approximately $5,000 each year to the organizations.
“We don’t expect to make any money for either organziation this year,” Greer said. “We will still give a lawn mower and trailer away. I am picking up a trailer today.”
We Care helps local citizens in need throughout the year and holds the Christmas project annually, which assists families in need with Christmas gifts for their children. The nonprofit organization is operating entirely with the help of volunteers.
The raffle will still take place June 21.
Greer said a reward is being offered for the return of the equipment. Anyone with information should contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 483-3000.