Gladstone police are looking for whoever is responsible for stealing more than $10,000 worth of items from a family-owned lawnmower store.
According to police, thieves stole a lawnmower, a welder and two pressure washers from AAA Lawnmower during the overnight hours on June 9.
Owner Beth Martin said the items were totaled to be about $12,000 combined.
"It's upsetting," she explained. "I've been up at night thinking about this."
AAA Lawnmower has been in business for more than 40 years in Gladstone.
Martin said she and her husband discovered the crime when they arrived at the store and drove around to the back.
"The fence had been cut and pulled," said Martin, showing how the thieves made off with the items. "They lifted the fence, put the items through a hole and lifted it up."
Police are now examining surveillance footage and photos in hopes of catching whoever is responsible.
On Thursday, police released surveillance images showing a dark-colored SUV driving from the store with the items in an open trailer.
A week after the crime was reported, Martin said her heart is still broken.
"In 47 years, we've never seen this kind of thing happen," said Martin while fighting back tears. "It's other human beings hurting human beings. I don't know how we've gotten to this place."
Because of the damage to the fence and the timing of the crime, Martin believes the thieves had been planning to hit the store.
"They had to have planned it," she said. "There was no way that they couldn't have planned it because of the way they entered through a very narrow area."
Martin continues to question what motivated the thieves to hit her store.
"[The store is] my life," she explained. "I've spent 47 years doing this. For someone to come in and violate it, I take that seriously and I take that to heart."
Martin hopes justice comes soon, and she has a message for whoever is responsible.
"[I hope] they would have a heart that would change," explained Martin. "They're hurting people that are working really hard, and it's just not right."
Since the crime was first reported last week, Martin said one of the stolen pressure washers has been recovered. Police are now hoping anyone with information comes forward to help with the investigation.
Anyone who has possible information on the crime is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.