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15,000 stolen construction tools recovered in massive theft investigation in Howard County

15,000 stolen construction tools recovered in Howard County
15,000 stolen construction tools recovered in Howard County 02:28

ELLICOTT CITY -- Howard County Police say they've uncovered one of the largest cases of theft in the region, recovering around 15,000 stolen construction tools.

It's all part of an investigation that started around the beginning of the year. No arrests have been made, but police say they're close to charging multiple suspects.

At a Howard County warehouse, in an undisclosed location, police have piles of drills, chainsaws, generators and a wealth of other construction tools. Investigators are still combing through exactly what they have.

Howard County Police Chief Gregory Der said police were initially tipped off by a victim from Virginia in January. That victim had a tracking device in their stolen tools, which led investigators to a storage unit in Elkridge.

"The scope of this investigation is enormous and it's ongoing," Der said. "It's a huge undertaking."

Der also noted what the media saw at the warehouse is only a portion of what they've uncovered so far.

Police found the tools after conducting 12 search warrants, 11 of which were in Howard County. The total cost of everything they found is estimated to be around $3-to-5 million.

Der said the tools were stolen from businesses, vehicles and construction sites in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. About a quarter of the stolen tools were brand new and still in their boxes.

Investigators found they were being sold at a variety of locations.

"Howard County is a community where all of our residents are not only safe, but should feel safe," said Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive. "We just took another giant leap toward achieving that goal."

Right now, police say there are about 80 victims, but believe there are more -- possibly hundreds.

Investigators are working to return every tool back to its original owner.

"These thefts affect their livelihoods. We've heard from victims who've lost work because of their tools. [These thefts] go way beyond the cost of replacing these tools," Der said.

Police have created an online form for victims to claim their tools, which you can find here

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