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Stolen lawnmower returned to Leavenworth boy

59-year-old man charged with felony theft
leeland williams new mower.jpeg
Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 23:52:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One Leavenworth boy has hometown heroes to thank for the safe return of one of his favorite things – a zero-turn riding lawnmower.

The mower was stolen from 13-year-old Leeland Williams a week ago, but Brittane Nauss, William's mother, told KSHB 41 News it was recovered Tuesday by some Leavenworth residents who work at Superior Lawn Care and Snow Removal. They found the mower in town on Tuesday morning.

While a teen being so upset about a lawnmower might sound unique, the machine has a special meaning.

Williams lost his leg in 2020 in a mowing accident, but mowing remained his favorite hobby. The Leavenworth community came together to purchase the teen a riding lawnmower so he could continue doing what he loved.

A neighbor's Ring doorbell caught a man riding off with Williams' special gift.

Williams was devastated at the loss of the mower and other lawn care items, but his community once again rallied in support.

As of Monday, a gas can, weed eater and blower had been donated to the teen and a GoFundMe page had generated more than $3,600 as of Tuesday.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said an arrest was made around 11 a.m. Tuesday in connection to the theft.

Harry Tolbert, 59, of Leavenworth, was already in jail for an unrelated theft. Detectives questioned him and arrested him.

Tolbert has been charged with felony theft of the cub-cadet, zero-turn mower. It was valued at $3,200.

The return of the prized possession was an after-school surprise when those who found the mower dropped it off.

Williams quickly checked how long the thief rode the mower.

"They ran it five hours," he said.

And then he hopped on.

The first thing Williams did was start the mower up and "mow like crazy."

Williams said he has 12 clients that he cuts for and even the two guys at Superior Lawn Care and Snow Removal offered him a job.