Two local men charged after OPP discover $375,000 worth of stolen heavy equipment
Two men from Oro-Medonte are facing charges after OPP discover $375,000 worth of stolen equipment from a commercial property on Highway 11.
Police say they arrested a 32-year-old man at the property near Line 7 on February 5th after an officer began investigating suspicious activity. The man was found to be breaching his conditions of bail and was arrested at scene. A second Oro-Medonte man was also arrested a few days later.
Police obtained a search warrant and found several pieces of heavy equipment that had been reported stolen in Oro-Medonte, Severn, and Springwater.
The stolen equipment included 3 skid steers, a backhoe, a mini-excavator, a riding lawn mower, 3 ATVs, and three generators.
“We’re very lucky to find this. This is the fourth one we’ve lost in the area…we recovered three of them but we’re still missing one,” says Mike Carnevale with a Vaughan construction company.
Contractor Dave Meeks is relieved to have his skid steer returned. It was stolen from a construction site in Severn Township just three weeks ago and that slowed down work.
“It’s a big loss. It’s valued at $45,000 and it’s used every day and you can’t get a new unless its recovered.”
The OPP say thieves are scouting construction sites and stealing equipment that is in demand and it’s becoming a big problem. In 2013, there were 58 occurrences at construction sites across Central Ontario.
“It’s a made to order product. Somebody is looking for a specific piece of equipment – they ask for it and negotiate the price and the culprits steal the equipment,” says Constable Graeme Knox with Barrie OPP.
Police say most of the equipment is stolen overnight and thieves are experts when it comes to disarming and operating the machines and often load them onto trailers for an easy get away. In many cases the equipment is sold to buyers across Ontario and the U.S.
The two men face numerous stolen property charges. The OPP say the investigation is continuing and they are trying to identify other victims.