Stolen construction equipment found in Englewood warehouse
CHICAGO (CBS) -- You've no doubt heard about thieves targeting construction sites and ripping off expensive equipment.
On Tuesday, Chicago Police were investigating after uncovering what they believed was a huge theft operation – resulting in nearly half a million dollars' worth of stolen goods.
The stolen construction equipment was found in a warehouse at 58th Street and Lafayette Avenue in Englewood. Some of it had gone missing as long ago as 2020, while some went missing only a couple of weeks ago.
The value of that expensive and heavy equipment ranges from $300,000 to $500,000, according to construction equipment owners who are at the nearby police station, trying to recover their stolen property.
All day and night, flatbed trucks pulled up to the warehouse to retrieve the stolen equipment – which some small business owners are finally getting back. Police stood guard as the equipment was hauled out.
Owners said the equipment was stolen from the south suburbs, including Harvey and Country Club Hills. One owner said his stolen equipment was nearly $100,000 in value.
Investigators have now begun a massive probe of the thefts.
One owner said his stolen equipment had a tracker that he used to find his property. When he got to the warehouse to check it out Tuesday morning, he set off a burglar alarm, bringing police to the scene, when he informed them of the stolen goods.
"I pulled up, the door was open, I could see the Skid-Steer in plain view," said Ben Kasper.
Last week, a $95,000 Bobcat Skid-Street loader was stolen from Kasper's constructions site in south suburban Harvey.
"They ripped out the phony GPS tracker I put in it, but the real GPS tracker was in it - and that got me notified of this location," Kasper said.
Kasper came to 58th and Lafayette.
"I said screw this, I'm getting my stuff back," he said.
And listen to what he did next.
"I walked up in there and took the equipment back, and looked around and said, this other stuff is probably stolen too," Kasper said.
Despite that nearly $500,000 worth of reported stolen equipment inside, the guy at the warehouse was so caught off guard by Kasper's action that he made a surprising move.
"He called the police on himself because he was so scared me," Kasper said.
And when officers arrived, they found an abundance of stolen construction gear.
"I just got a bunch of idiots who are stealing stuff and using it for work," Kasper said.
Such thefts cost Jesse Young a lot.
"It was like my life was gone," Young said. "I pulled up, and nothing I left there was there."
Young rushed to Englewood to recover a trailer and concrete breaker – all items he had believed he would never see again after thieves hit up his South Holland cement company back in 2020.
"Thank God we got it back and we caught these people and are able to shut them down," Young said.
It was not clear late Tuesday how many pieces of equipment were recovered from the warehouse, but we do know police took one person into custody.
It was not clear if the person who was arrested was the owner of the building.
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