The others in the group abandoned their truck at the crash scene on Route 40 in Elkton and were gone by the time Maryland state troopers arrived, The Baltimore Sun reported. David L. Roland, 35, of Elkton was flown to Christiana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said Roland had been in the back of the pickup while the other four were in the cab. The driver of the other vehicle received minor injuries.
Maryland State Police said an employee at the Lowe's home improvement store in Elkton, which has not yet opened, saw five men in hooded sweatshirts loading the riding mower onto the truck late Monday afternoon. The employee closed the gate but the thieves pushed it up and drove beneath it, although it swept the mower off their truck.
The driver did not stop as he entered Route 40 and the truck was hit by a car on the highway. The force of the collision threw Roland from the truck.