Omaha man helps track down thief who stole his lawn equipment

 Allen Chesson (Courtesy Iowa Department of Corrections)
Allen Chesson (Courtesy Iowa Department of Corrections) (WOWT)
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 9:39 PM CDT
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A thief who hit numerous businesses is now doing time. While several agencies investigated the cases, one of the victims worked hard to put the crook behind bars.

Replacing a stolen piece of lawn equipment isn’t something Rob Elder would just blow off.

“Yeah, a little upset at first,” Elder said.

After the theft from his trailer, Elder checked business neighbors for security camera footage -- and sure enough, there’s a suspect stealing the $600 blower. But zoom in and the plates blur -- so Elder asked around.

“The lady across the street said he had 19 county plates, so I contacted Falls City Police and they recognized the car instantly and from there I knew his name, his age, so then Google searches and all this,” Elder recalled.

The suspect was Allen Chessen, who drove the same kind of car and looked like the suspect 6 On Your Side showed breaking into For The Wild Birds store.

“After hearing that he had hit places all over after talking with you, we had at least three other people come to us and say that looks like the exact same guy, the exact same car,” Grant Anderson said, owner of For The Wild Birds.

Suspected for break-ins in three states and several communities, Chessen is in an Iowa prison until next year. Then he faces justice in Nebraska, where Elder is one of the victims.

“It’s more fun for me to try and find this guy and make sure everyone else is getting justice, too. I’m not going to get my stuff back, I just want to make sure he gets what he has coming,” Elder said.

Information gathered by the lawn service owner helped put a convicted thief in a prison yard.

Several victims said the damage caused in the break-ins cost more to repair than the valuables lost.