Franconia man jailed for thefts
NORRISTOWN >> A Franconia man was sent to jail after he admitted to stealing landscaping equipment from several businesses in Montgomery and Bucks counties.
Brian Thomas Gragg, 44, of the 600 block of Morwood Road, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 11½ to 23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft by unlawful taking in connection with incidents that occurred in May 2017. Judge William R. Carpenter also ordered Gragg to complete three years’ probation following parole, meaning Gragg will be under court supervision for about five years.
The judge said Gragg must pay $6,534 in restitution to the seven theft victims. The victims or the companies they worked for were located in Upper Gwynedd, Lower Salford and Towamencin townships in Montgomery County and in New Britain Township in Bucks County, according to court papers.
Additionally, Judge Carpenter ordered Gragg to stay away from the victims as a condition of the sentence.
An investigation began on May 23, 2017, after Lower Salford police received a report of the theft of three backpack blowers from a Telford area landscaper’s trailer that was parked in the 300 block of Hamilton Drive while workers were cutting grass at the Rosecliff Manor development. The three blowers were valued at $600 each, according to court papers.
Investigators obtained video surveillance footage from residents of the development that depicted a male operating a Dodge Durango who was in the area at the time the blowers were stolen, according to the criminal complaint. When police distributed an “attempt to identify flyer” containing two of the surveillance photos they received a tip that led them to Gragg.
It was soon determined that Upper Gwynedd police were investigating multiple reports of landscaping equipment being stolen from landscapers’ trailers while they were parked at job sites in the township between May 15 and May 17, 2017, according to the criminal complaint. Witnesses reported seeing a suspicious man in the area, who was driving a blue SUV, at the time of the thefts.
When police placed Gragg’s residence under surveillance they observed him operating a blue Dodge Durango which fit the description of the vehicle depicted in the surveillance video that recorded the May 23 theft in Lower Salford.
Police subsequently learned that police in New Britain Township, Bucks County, and in Towamencin Township, also were investigating similar thefts of landscaping equipment during the same time period, according to court documents.
Cellphone analysis eventually determined that Gragg’s phone was in the vicinity of several of the thefts when they occurred.
When Gragg was confronted with the thefts he admitted to several of them. However, when questioned he couldn’t recall being on the streets where some of the others occurred. Gragg allegedly told investigators, “It doesn’t mean I didn’t do it, but I don’t remember doing that one,” according to court papers.
Investigators also uncovered a May 23 text conversation on Gragg’s cellphone during which he asked a man if he was interested in buying landscaping equipment, specifically, five blowers, according to the criminal complaint.