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New guys in town unravel bad guy’s plan at lawn equipment store

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- What seemed to be the perfect plan, was also stopped by a perfect plan. Citizens at a lawn equipment store work together to thwart a man accused of using a fake credit card to steal tens of thousands of dollars of lawn equipment on Milwaukee's South side.

Dan McCarthy, and Josh Koch spend a lot of time making things work at their store Milwaukee Power Equipment.  The store, which has a lot of high end and professional lawn equipment, has only been open seven weeks.

Tuesday, a sales rep emailed them a concerning mug shot, saying keep an eye out for this man. He's accused of stealing lots of equipment from several other similar stores in the past two weeks, all using a fake credit card.

Thursday Koch was in the store alone when a customer walked in. He saw it was the guy in the mug shot, heading right to a six thousand dollar mower.

The customer said he wanted to buy the mower and Koch tried to stall. He texted another manager who had just stepped out and that's when Dan McCarthy came back with one another customer from the store.

"We had a game plan going in. We knew what we were looking for," said Koch.

McCarthy helped do what he doesn't want his mowers to do: Stall, saying the computer crashed, they couldn't find the serial number of the mower.

"My heart was pounding, I know Josh he was definitely nervous," McCarthy said.

"I've known other dealers have gotten hit in the area and he had gotten away with it. I found a reason to excuse myself into the back room and made a phone call to 911," Koch said.

On the video you can see a customer gets in on the action. He came in from the parking lot, asked for a pad of paper and writes, "the police are here, they are coming in soon."

Officers arrived and were able to arrest the suspect all before he got the goods, expensive goods.

"Being a brand new start up company it would have been devastating to us. Almost to the point where we might not have recovered," said McCarthy.

The suspect is now in jail. At this point he faces charges for allegedly stealing $12,000 in equipment at another Milwaukee store earlier this month.