Police investigate Spring Green lawn care chemical tampering - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Police investigate Spring Green lawn care chemical tampering

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Spiked lawn care chemical left brown streaks Spiked lawn care chemical left brown streaks
Brown:  working with customers to re-seed lawns Brown: working with customers to re-seed lawns
Upset customers gather to talk about lawn damage Upset customers gather to talk about lawn damage
Kelly:  "doing a good job of getting out ahead of this thing" Kelly: "doing a good job of getting out ahead of this thing"

ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT) -- Rochester police have launched a criminal investigation into who spiked lawn treatment chemicals at Spring Green's company warehouse, a case of malicious tampering that resulted in damage to some 200 lawns in the metro area.

Capt. Brian Winters says Spring Green sent samples for testing to the Dept. of Agriculture and that results showed the sample had chemical elements consistent with Roundup, a herbicide used to kill grass and weeds. 

Spring Green owner Ken Brown filed a complaint with police, suspicious that someone entered the warehouse and spiked Spring Green's chemicals some time between last fall to early spring of this year.

"I'm pleased that police are following up on my report," Brown told the NewsCenter.  "I hope we get to the bottom of it to reach a conclusion to find out who did it and how it happened."

Brown says he has since taken security measures at the warehouse to prevent it from such a thing ever happening again.

The tainted chemicals have caused considerable financial loss for Spring Green, which has been working for weeks with customers trying to re-seed all the lawns that were damaged.  Brown says he send a followup letter just this week to customers he knows have been impacted.  He says some have told him that their lawns have responded to Spring Green's efforts to re-seed and repair the damage, but work continues on others.

Back in early June, when KTTC broke the story, Brown told reporter Chris Conte that chemicals that were supposed to promote grass growth had instead done the opposite.

"It will come back, the problem is it's not instantaneous."

At that time Brown was suspicious that a herbicide his company uses to treat lawns may have been tampered with, creating dozens of yards with large gaping brown spots.

"Something got in this barrel that should not have been there to cause this kind of damage," Brown added.

Brown said a lot of the yards are regrowing, but customers want to know when their lawns will be back to normal.

"I'm not seeing any growth," says Mary Hurt.

Mary Hurt sat in her living room on the evening of June 1st, meeting with a handful of other unsatisfied customers.  She said Spring Green had re-seeded her damaged lawn, but she and others wanted to know why they had to be the ones to contact the company about the problem.

"I was never contacted by Spring Green about the problem," says Mary Hurt.

But not everyone was dissatisfied with how Spring Green had handled things.

"They're doing a good job of getting out ahead of this thing and trying to fix it," said Jim Kelly.

Again Thursday, Brown said the company will continue to re-seed all of those lawns affected by the problem while police pursue a suspect in the case.

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