Published: Oct 04, 2013 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2013 10:34 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- As crews work cutting and whacking, officials say thieves are on the hunt for this lawn equipment.

"Every single piece is expensive, even a weed whacker, a wedger, we're talking 350 and up," said Jason Armstead.

Jason Armstead owns Latitude 26 Lawn and Garden Care. In the past 5 years, he's had gear stolen 3 times.

"It's competitive, we work hard for the wages out here, and it's such a terrible feeling," said Armstead.

Since January 1, the Collier County Sheriff's Office said they've investigated 28 cases of tools being stolen straight from the job site or an office.

"We are contacting the lawn care businesses and encouraging them to increase their security measures and their awareness," said Sgt. Rebecca Gonzalez with the Collier County Sheriff's Office.

In light of all these cases, we've found businesses in our area amping up their security. At one, we found their front gate is padlocked, but the trailer that holds their equipment is padlocked as well.

"We made some changes, really operational changes, which would be locking up the trailer at every job, closing the side door, closing the back ramp gate," said Armstead.

But it also forced Armstead to change how he runs his business.

"Now you're scheduling because you don't have this piece of equipment, now you're borrowing tools from friends which I've had to do," said Armstead. "You're kind of backed into a corner."

As for the impact on your cost of lawn care, we check with several local businesses who were victimized, they all say for now, they're not going to raise their rates because they want to stay competitive.