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Man stole mower for love, Snohomish police say

The suspect is accused of swiping the riding lawn mower to raise money for his girlfriend's bail.

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By Diana Hefley and Eric Stevick
Herald Writers
SNOHOMISH -- Love may have motivated a mower caper at a Methodist church in March.
Nathan Lee Lafromboise wanted to spring his girl from jail. He needed cash and fast. That's when Lafromboise, 31, remembered the orange riding lawn mower he spotted by a shed several months earlier, Snohomish police officer Jeff Shelton said.
It had been a chance encounter. Lafromboise had been riding in a car on Highway 9 when he got into an argument with the driver, Shelton said. He ended up bailing out of the car and hoofing it through a field outside Snohomish. That's when he spotted the mower at the United Methodist Church.
After his girlfriend was arrested and booked into jail on March 13, Lafromboise tried to figure out how to raise her bail, Shelton said.
Lafromboise professed his love and said "he would do anything in the world" for his lady, the officer noted in his report.
He was "so passionate about it, he remembered this lawn mower and he thought he could make some money," Shelton said.
Police believe that's when Lafromboise and an accomplice cut the lock and backed a pickup to the shed. Lafromboise, at a Herculean 6 feet, 7 inches tall and 230 pounds, heaved the 240-pound mower into the bed of the truck.
Now, how to hock a hot Kubota lawn tractor?
That's where a Monroe couple and Craigslist come in.
The couple said they saw the Kubota advertised on the Internet for $500. They called the seller, who said he needed to move the merchandise pronto.
The Monroe buyers told police they paid Lafromboise $400 cash, and, at his request, they handed over another $100 to Brandon's Bail Bonds in downtown Everett.
Police tracked the couple down after receiving a phone call from an Everett lawn mower dealer. The yard equipment man said a woman called him up requesting an owner's manual for a riding tractor identical to the one stolen from the church.
Brandon Drake of Brandon's Bail Bonds later would tell police that Lafromboise gave him $100 and used the mower as collateral to bail out his girlfriend -- even though he'd sold it to the folks in Monroe.
Lafromboise did bail his girl out on the Everett warrant.
Turns out his love and an orange lawn mower weren't enough to set her free.
Snohomish County jail staff promptly stuck her on a shuttle to Skagit County, where she was wanted on other warrants.
She was released up there -- three days after Lafromboise was picked up for an unrelated robbery.
Now, both of them could end up behind bars together.
Lafromboise was charged Tuesday with burglary for the mower heist. He, his girlfriend and two other women also are suspects in an Everett robbery gone bad.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;
Story tags » SnohomishBurglary

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