MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City leaders urging the public to keep a watchful eye after a string of robberies targeting MLGW contractors responsible for cutting trees.

At least 15 tree trimmer crews have been robbed this year, impacting the operation and leading to staffing shortages.

“That is an issue that we have,” said Nick Newman, MLGW VP of engineering. “We are trying to switch around and get some additional contract crews in here.”

Each year, MLGW tries cut 1400 miles of trees. As of this week, they have with fallen short of that goal with just under 421 miles.

It’s in large part due crews being targeted by thieves, and that has councilman Jeff Warren very concerned.

“The people who need it the most are people who can’t afford to be without electricity. And this is damaging citizens directly,” Warren said.

Warren says not only are contractors for MLGW being targeted but local companies are as well. Now he’s encouraging residents to take a stand and do something to combat this problem.

“This is one of those, one of those situations where we as citizens can help our police apprehend someone who’s doing damage to both the person who’s working, the person who owns the company, and all of us here receiving power,” Warren said.

MLGW says their contractors equipment is being stolen along with personal items. The majority of their crew members come from other countries just to work here.

Giving what has become a common occurrence, Warren is encouraging everyone to keep a watchful eye.

“We need the public to be looking for any suspicious activity where you see a ton of chainsaws or all sorts of equipment being loaded onto a tractor trailer truck, and sit somewhere, we need to have a report of where that is,” Warren said.

MLGW tells us they have been in contact with Memphis Police and other local police departments, looking at ways to upgrade security for their contractors.