Police look for thousands of dollars in stolen equipment

The Columbia Police Department responded to a report of someone removing the locks on a trailer parked outside of Victory Lane Automotive on Brown Station Road.

They stole a laptop, radios, tools and other electronic equipment totaling more than $18,000, according to a department news release.

During the night of Oct. 5, officers responded to a similar theft on East Gans Road. Someone broke in to a full-size trailer at the construction site and stole a Bobcat utility vehicle valued at $10,000, as well as power and hand tools valued at $8,000.

The police department has no leads on the robbers, but suspect the person stealing the equipment carefully planned the theft.

“What’s really unusual about this is that they took the Bobcat too,” police department spokeswoman Jessie Haden said. “You’ve got to have a big enough trailer yourself to steal it away. They’re going to have to be prepared -— more prepared than if they were going to steal smaller items.”

The department uses a system of checking pawnshop records to find stolen property.

“Tools are items that can be pawned and sold on the black market,” Haden said. “People take these items and try to pawn them around the state.”

Haden suspects this crime may be linked to the wave of clement weather.

“The weather was just right for somebody to be out," she said. “And when you have a lot of good weather, you have construction going on. The bad guys know that.”

To avoid future crimes, Haden aims to get the word out about the dangers of theft.

“It’s almost a continual thing because you also have new companies coming in," she said.

She recommends using a shrouded lock to protect valuable equipment.

The police have no more leads at this point, Haden said.

The police department asks that anyone with information about either of these thefts call the police department or Crime Stoppers at 875-TIPS.

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