RIVIERA, Texas — Elias Arredondo was mowing grass at Riviera Cemetery last Tuesday when he noticed a truck pull up next to his truck that he'd parked off in the distance.
When a man got out and walked over to a headstone, Arredondo figured he was simply paying his respects to a lost loved one.
But when he looked over at the man again, he realized something was wrong.
"He was putting something in the back of his truck," Arredondo said. "And I just thought to myself, 'I didn’t see him come out (of his truck) with anything. So I drove the (lawnmower) over there, and sure enough, my weed eater was gone, and he was driving off with it."
Arredondo uses the money he makes from his landscaping business to help pay his way through his freshman year at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
He said replacing the weed eater would have cost him between $200 and $300, had it not been for others' generosity.
"Some people have donated money," he said. "My uncle, he donated some money; and a good family friend of ours; and a man up in Corpus," Arredondo said. "He runs a photography company, and he helped us out by donating. So I’m thankful for that."
Arredondo got a good look at the thief's truck, but he chose to not file a police report.
“I’m not really upset, because sometimes people go through hard times," he said. "Maybe (stealing is) their only choice. I just hope that my weed eater was able to stop him from doing it again. Maybe it helped him out in a hard time."
Arredondo wouldn't provide a description of the thief's truck, but his father posted that information on his Facebook page.