SC Man Accused of Stealing $43,000 in Tree-Trimming Equipment

Ladson, SC (WLTX) - Berkeley County deputies have arrested a man who they say stole tree-trimming equipment from a business that was trying to help people clean up the damage left by Hurricane Matthew.

Officers say 39-year-old Justin Heath Chesser drove up to Mike's Tree Service and broke into a storage yard on the property. Chesser and an unidentified woman who was with him then drove away with a trailer, equipment, and a stump grinding mini-skid. All told the theft totaled $43,000 worth of goods.

At the time of the theft, the owner of the company was busy with storm damage work.

Deputies say two witnesses saw the break-in, and called deputies. A short time later, an officer saw a truck matching the vehicle description in the area parked on a nearby road. Chessner and the woman who was with him came back to the truck, and that's when officers moved in and arrested them.

The owner of the tree service was able to identify his stolen equipment and claim it from deputies. 

It's unclear if the woman will face charges.

"I have to commend the two witnesses who were alert and took time to call us so that we could help solve this, Berkeley County Sheriff S. Duane Lewis said. "Working together, we can make Berkeley County a safer place for everyone. It is terrible that someone would try to steal a man's livelihood at a time like this," 


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