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Robot lawnmower thieves thwarted by GPS

Police in Central Finland encountered an unprecedented lawnmower situation.

Robottiruohonleikkuri leikkaa nurmikkoa
A stolen robot lawnmower alerted Finnish authorities to its location (file photo). Image: Yle

Police in the southwestern province of Pirkanmaa handled a first-of-its-kind case this past weekend, when officers were notified of the theft of a robot lawnmower from the garden of a house in the town of Ikaalinen.

The owner noticed that the machine had been stolen sometime between Saturday and Sunday, and called the police. When officers arrived, the owner informed them that the mower's GPS tracking system showed that it was located in the town of Mänttä-Vilppula, more than 100 kilometres away.

When police went to check the address provided by the GPS locator, they found the robot grass-cutter on the terrace of a house.

"There were some people inside the house, and two of them admitted to having stolen the mower," Central Finland Police Department said in a statement.

Constable Heikki Järnström added that there is no record of any similar crime having occurred in Pirkanmaa.

"We are not aware of any series of thefts at least," Järnström said.

The price of a new robot lawnmower in Finland is usually between 1,000 and 3,000 euros. The devices are often equipped with a GPS tracking system as well as an alarm and PIN code lock to deter thieves.

The city of Tampere has been using GPS-assisted lawnmowers, and has warned people - including would-be thieves - not to touch or attempt to lift or otherwise interfere with the robots.

"If the mower is raised from the lawn, its alarm buzzer starts to ring and the blade stops," according to a city press release from last year.

Furthermore, the robot lawnmowers have a limited area in which they operate, so they are useless to thieves, the city's release added.

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