OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — An Okeechobee funeral homeowner believes $180,000 of their equipment was stolen, while their staff was at home, riding out Hurricane Nicole.
“I think with the hurricane coming in it was just a prime time with few people out on the street, storm approaching, under the cover of night," Matthew Buxton, owner of Buxton & Bash Okeechobee Funeral Home said. “Now I’m down a truck, I’m down that trailer. This is equipment that my staff uses every single day to provide the service that we serve to our families, and it is an enormous inconvenience."
Buxton told WPTV, his staff put the equipment away and locked it up on Wednesday, with Hurricane Nicole likely to impact their area. But he says shortly after they left, one of his employees noticed their truck, trailer and excavator were gone.
“The time and energy that it’s going to take to ultimately try to replace it, hypothetically say I get half of what everything is worth, now I have to pony up the rest and as a small business I just can’t take hits like that," Buxton said. "So, it makes it very difficult.”
He’s offering a$2,500 rewardfor someone to return the equipment.
In the meantime, Buxton said he's dedicated to the families in his community and making sure this doesn't impact them in a time of grief.
“No family is going to go without. I give me word and my love for that.”