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OPD: Thieves blending in to steal heavy machinery from worksites

Odessa Police say that 21 pieces of heavy machinery have been stolen from worksites since February. They say suspects wear uniforms or outfits to look like workers.
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Odessa Police say that 21 pieces of heavy machinery have been stolen from worksites since February. Investigators said that witnesses didn’t think anything of the thefts, because the suspects disguised themselves in the uniforms or outfits of the workers.

“Construction workers were probably thinking, ‘Oh they’re here to pick it up’,” Lt. Sherrie Carruth with Odessa Police Department said. “But no, that’s just how sly and clever [the suspects] think they are. They’re stealing them right from under their nose.”

Investigators said that the thieves will come to worksites and either hook their trucks up to trailers, or drive the machinery up onto a trailer they brought with them.

To demonstrate, some men re-enacted the crimes using their company’s excavator, and were able to pull off the whole process in about two and a half minutes.

“These people are not novice when it comes to this equipment,” Carruth said. “They’ve worked around it, they know how to operate them. They know how to quickly get them on a trailer and transport them. So they know what they’re doing.”

The stolen vehicles are driven off and sold for a fraction of their market value.

“The machine behind me is running roughly $40,000,” Carruth said. “If someone’s trying to sell you one of these machines for $5000 or $6000, that needs to start raising red flags.”

Anyone with information about these crimes is encouraged to call Odessa Crime Stoppers at 432-333-8477

Tips could receive a reward up to $1000.

Copyright 2020 KOSA. All rights reserved.

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