ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. — William Laribee said a loud noise from outside woke him up Saturday night and when he went outside the next morning, more than $1,500 worth of lawn maintenance equipment was stolen.
The theft happened on A Street in St. Augustine Beach.
"I was just more upset. I wasn't going to be able to work. I mean, this is how I make my livelihood," Laribee said.
That’s when his wife suggested they turn to Facebook and see if anything was posted on the buying and selling feature “SwipSwap.”
"I’m like, 'who in the world is going to post something as obvious, as odd, as this?'" Laribee said.
After scrolling through the page, Laribee said he spotted his synthetic lawn equipment and power tools, which had been posted by someone named Jeffrey Vanzile.
"It's pretty self-incriminating and not very smart," Laribee said.
Laribee said he immediately called police and they went to Vanzile’s last known address, but he no longer lived there. That’s when Laribee took matters into his own hands.
Laribee said he messaged Vanzile through his mother-in-law’s Facebook page, requesting to buy the equipment.
"They must have needed the money pretty bad because they were immediately ready to meet up and sell it," Laribee said.
After getting police involved in the meetup, Laribee said he and his mother-in-law drove to Walmart to meet up with Vanzile.
"Obviously, the cops do this all the time, but I don't, so a little, kind of, scary," Laribee said.
In seconds, Laribee said police swarmed Vanzile and another man who was with him.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking," Laribee said.
Vanzile and Michael Galloway were both arrested and are being charged with grand theft.
Cox Media Group