BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) Christmas crooks have ruined the holiday for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
During overnight hours on Wednesday, they broke through a wall in a garage at Martin Luther King Park and took-off with over $2500 worth of heavy duty, commercial-grade park maintenance equipment.
"They came in here and they took a standup air compressor, all our trimming tools, our trimmers, power blowers, and about 22 shovels got taken off the rack," said Olmsted Parks Senior Supervisor Stan Jennings.
The equipment was used at MLK, Front, Prospect, and Days Park.
"My staff is so hard working and so dedicated, and when they lose important tools like this, it is discouraging for them," added Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy CEO & President Thomas Herrera-Mishler.
The thieves also tried to steal a park pickup truck, and in the process ended up badly damaging the vehicle's ignition and engine compartment.
"The ignition is three or four hundred dollars just to get the parts," commented Jennings.
"They tried knocking the ignition out so they could steal the truck to take the stuff they were stealing."
Now the problem is how to replace the equipment and make repairs.
The Conservancy works on a small budget that relies heavily on donations from the public.
"We are looking for donations. If anyone would like to help us replace this equipment, we do have a generous trustee who will match any donations made to the equipment fund," said Thomas Herrera-Mishler.
The stolen equipment is marked with large block letters "MLK."
"If anyone's out there in the world of pawn shops, and you bought a bunch of small engine equipment that is used in maintaining landscapes, be suspicious and give us a call . . . call the police," added Thomas Herrera-Mishler.
Buffalo Police are actively investigating the crime and are exploring the possibility of increasing patrols around Martin Luther King Park.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Buffalo Police Confidential Tipline at 716-847-2255.