Authorities warn of massive equipment theft operation in Caddo Parish

(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
Published: Jul. 6, 2018 at 9:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2018 at 6:30 PM CDT
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CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Caddo Parish authorities are warning residents to be alert, after a stolen piece of equipment sold for just pennies on the dollar was recovered Friday.

Austin Johnson says thieves stole his $50,000 bobcat skid steer, then sold it for $9,000, just pennies on the dollar.

"You work hard to pay for this stuff and then you bring quality equipment to the public and they just run off with it," Johnson said, the owner of Ashley's Saw Shop on East Bert Kouns Loop in Shreveport.

Johnson's bobcat skid steer, complete with a grapple on the front, is a piece of equipment used to remove logs and debris.

He says it was stolen on Thursday, June 28.

"We've had trailers, we've had mowers, and just items broken into, but nothing of this magnitude," Johnson said.

Caddo Parish Constable Eric Hatfield believes the theft is part of a massive larceny operation.

"We believe this same individual, as well as his co-parts, are responsible for many other thefts in the area of items such as side by sides, ATV 4 wheelers, stump grinders, bobcats, excavators, skid steer loaders, tractors with bush hogs, generators, power tools," Hatfield said.

Hatfield located Johnson's stolen bobcat at an auto shop on Mansfield Road, along with a John Deere excavator he was able to trace back to an area cemetery.

"There's so much equipment theft occurring in our area most of these pieces are gone within 24 hours to Texas or West Texas so it is ironic that this equipment left the scene of the crime and came straight to an end user," Hatfield said.

Grateful for the find, Johnson was still in shock that thieves would steal something he uses to make a living.

"They want someone else to work and they want to take it from you, it's ridiculous it's sad you know but what do you do, I'm not gonna lay down and die," Johnson said.

Authorities are not yet releasing the suspect's identity due to a pending investigation. They are advising equipment owners to place GPS devices on their property.

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