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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Elderly lawn care worker steals shed from Ocala home

An 80-year-old lawn care worker from Ocala was arrested over the weekend after he was accused of stealing a shed from a woman’s backyard.

On Saturday, January 27, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a residence on SW 172nd Lane Road in Ocala in reference to a grand theft incident. The deputy had spoken with the female victim who advised that a shed in her backyard had been stolen by William Patrick Von Korff, according to the arrest report.

William Patrick Von Korff
William Patrick Von Korff, 80, of Ocala

The victim stated that Von Korff is an employee that she had hired to maintain the grass outside her home. She stated that at the time of the incident, Von Korff was cutting the grass in her backyard.

According to the victim’s statement, she observed Von Korff take her 10-foot by 20-foot metal shed, and she heard Von Korff state that he “could use this.” She stated that Von Korff proceeded to back his van into her yard, near the shed.

The victim advised that Von Korff called her and asked if he could remove the shed. She told the deputy that she “instructed (Von Korff) not to take the shed and to only cut her lawn,” according to the report.

The deputy noted that the victim provided video footage of the incident, which confirmed that Von Korff’s van was near the shed in the backyard. However, the report stated that the footage did not show the shed being loaded into the vehicle.

The victim’s metal shed was valued at approximately $2,500.

The victim provided the deputy with Von Korff’s address, and the deputy responded to a residence in the 16900 block of SW 25th Terrace Road in Ocala. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with Von Korff at the home, and the report stated that a van was also observed in the driveway, which matched the vehicle seen on the video footage.

After being read his Miranda rights, Von Korff confirmed that he had been hired by the victim to mow her lawn and clean up her yard. He stated that he found the shed in the victim’s yard and it was “toppled over,” according to the report.

During the post-Miranda interview, Von Korff claimed that he felt the shed “could be a hazard to children,” and he admitted that he removed it without the victim’s permission. He initially claimed that he had been unable to get in touch with the victim, though the report stated that he later admitted that he spoke with the victim over the phone prior to taking the shed.

According to the report, Von Korff eventually confirmed that he had been “told not to remove the shed,” but he did so anyways because it was “not secure.” He advised that he took apart the shed and disposed of it in a dumpster with assistance from a co-worker.

The report stated that the deputy spoke with Von Korff’s male co-worker, who confirmed that he had assisted with removing the victim’s shed. The co-worker claimed that he was under the impression that the victim had told Von Korff that she wanted the shed removed.

Von Korff was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was released on his own recognizance the following day. He is being charged with grand theft over $750 but less than $5,000.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27, according to jail records.