Lawn mower stolen from college football team

HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Between the Hurricane Middle School football team and other leagues, the field near West Teays Valley Elementary hosts hundreds of children to play football each week.

Greg Harkins volunteers his time, spending three and a half hours each time to make sure the grass is cut – all to ensure the football rolls properly when a player is about to pass or score a goal.

“I would say 200 to 300 people pass through there during the week,” Harkins said. “I mow the pitch line… did everything I had to do and all week, then prepared it before games.”

Harkins was helping organize the jerseys after his grandson’s first season on the Hurricane Middle School football team. He noticed that the riding mower and a new weed killer were missing inside the equipment building.

“You can’t put it in the trunk of your car. I mean, it’s a full-size ride-on mower with a 48-inch cutting deck,” Harkins said.

He says there was no equipment to load the mower onto a trailer and the garage was locked.

“Because you either had to drive it down the road or load it onto a trailer in the back of a truck, and we never take it out of the field,” Harkins said.

Other leagues still practice on the field, and the team budget would fund equipment like a mower. A new or used mower costs thousands of dollars.

Harkins said the grass needs to be cut for children to play in the field, so a new or used mower or a lawn care company are options. He said all of these options should come from the team’s budget.

A college football team’s tight budget doesn’t allow spending thousands of dollars on a lawn mower.

“Our next step now is to find a new mower. We are in a position where everything is fine now, but in a few weeks it may not be OK anymore,” Harkins said.

Harkins hopes to get him back, and Hurricane and Putnam County law enforcement are working to help.

“If they suddenly see someone has a riding mower that they didn’t have last week, contact hurricane police,” Harkins said.

The mower has been missing since Oct. 17, according to Harkins.

The mayor of Hurricane is also working to find the mower, sharing a social media post.

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