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Local crimes help rank Ohio in top ten for heavy equipment theft

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Robert L. Martin Robert L. Martin
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DES PLAINES, Ill.  Crimes committed by a Goshen Township man helped place Ohio on the top ten list of states with the highest number of heavy equipment thefts.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau and National Equipment Register reported on Thursday that Ohio ranked tenth in the nation with 309 thefts of heavy equipment reported in 2012.

The report cites several cases, including one in which 42 pieces of stolen heavy equipment were discovered last year at construction sites in Cortland, Salem, Lordstown, Hubbard and Goshen Townships. 

Machines recovered were valued at more than $2-million. Investigators say serial numbers on some of the equipment had been changed or obliterated.

The investigation led to the arrest of 46-year-old Robert L. Martin of Goshen Township, who operated the Yukon Construction company.

In February, Martin pleaded guilty to four counts of receiving stolen property. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 19 in Mahoning County Court.

The report ranks Texas as number one in 2012 with 1,401 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 1,037 thefts followed by Florida in third with 890 thefts. In fourth place was California with 686 thefts, and tied for fifth—Georgia and South Carolina with 595 each.

The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2012 were:

  1. Mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5,363)
  2. Loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,943)
  3. Tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1,459)

Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2012 followed in order by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro.

As for recoveries, only 20 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2012 was found, making it a costly crime for insurance companies, equipment owners and rental agencies.

NICB urges equipment owners to incorporate theft prevention strategies into their business practices and recommends the following theft prevention tips:

  • Install hidden fuel shut-off systems.
  • Remove fuses and circuit breakers when equipment is unattended.
  • Render equipment immobile or difficult to move after hours or on weekends by clustering it in a "wagon circle." Place more easily transported items, such as generators and compressors, in the middle of the circle surrounded by larger pieces of equipment.
  • Maintain a photo archive and a specific list of the PIN and component part serial numbers of each piece of heavy equipment in a central location. Stamp or engrave equipment parts with identifying marks, numbers or corporate logos.
  • Use hydro locks to fix articulated equipment in a curved position, preventing it from traveling in a straight line.
  • Use sleeve locks to fix backhoe pads in an extended position, keeping wheels off the ground.

 

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