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Artificial Turf Stolen From San Jose Home As Drought Drives Rising Demand

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – As the ongoing drought prompts some to replace their lawns, thieves were caught on camera stealing an expensive roll of artificial turf from the front of a San Jose home.

Security cameras at a house on Eastridge Drive picked up a suspicious white SUV driving slowly by with its headlights off, around 1:20 in the morning on September 25th.

Two minutes later, two men are seeing walking up to the property from the left and they go straight for a big roll of artificial turf that's laying in the front yard of Rick Telly's home.

The thieves were seen struggling with the weight of the roll, but then they hoist it up and walk away.  It was gone in seconds.

San Jose Artificial Turf Thieves
Surveillance footage purportedly showing two thieves stealing artificial turf from a home in San Jose on September 25, 2021. (CBS)

"The value of that was about $4,000," said Telly, who owns a small construction company.

Telly told KPIX 5 that he was planning to use the turf on a client's job, and install turf in his own front yard.

"I think it's a shame," he said. "I think it's pretty sad that people have to resort to these kinds of measures to steal other people's property especially people, that are just trying to make a living from doing these type of services."

Neighbor Lourdes Walker said she was surprised the thieves took turf. "People are hurting for money and they're just too lazy to work," she said.

But then she said it makes sense because of the drought.

"That's what I'm thinking for my yard, replacing the grass," Walker said.

In fact, one installer said demand for turf is at an all-time high and can range from $12 to $18 a square foot.

Troy Scott, co-owner of Heavenly Greens, also said project wait times are now backlogged for months.

"You could imagine that if someone was doing a side job and they spotted some turf, there's an asset to take. But it is a little extreme I'd have to say," Scott told KPIX 5.

Telly said it's thousands of dollars out of his pocket, but he's hoping to get the turf back, if he can catch the thieves.

"I had no idea that someone would resort to those measures to take the grass," he said.

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