Lawn mower burglar gets 5 years probation

Published 4:00 pm Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Austin man who was accused of stealing two different lawn mowers in July was sentenced to five years probation Friday in Mower County Court.

Scott Aaron Ellis, 37, was convicted of third-degree felony burglary, while two other counts of second-degree burglary and theft were dismissed.

According to a criminal complaint, a 34-year-old Austin woman called police at around noon on July 30 to report that a lawn mower had been stolen from her garage in the 1000 block of Eighth Avenue Northeast.

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The woman said she knew the suspect but not by name, and she described him as a white man in his 40s. She said the man had mowed her lawn on several previous occasions and she had paid him cash.

The woman also said she had noticed things missing from her garage before but she wasn’t sure if he had taken them.

A neighbor told police that the same man routinely walked through the neighborhood and asked people if they needed their lawns mowed, the complaint states.

Police later found Ellis, who matched the first woman’s description, with a lawn mower on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Eighth Street northeast. The mower was not the reported missing one, but police asked Ellis about the reported theft, and he said, “If I show her where it is, is she still going to press charges?”

Ellis then admitted that he took the mower from her garage, but ditched it in a bush because it wasn’t working, the complaint states. He said be “borrowed” the second mower with which police found him. Ellis was then arrested.

The first mower was found in a nearby bush, and both mowers were returned to their owners.

Records indicate that Ellis has a lengthy criminal history, which includes a number of theft and burglary convictions.

Ellis’ probation sentence is in lieu of a 26-month prison sentence. He must also complete 40 community service hours.