Local company victimized by equipment theft ringPublished 3:44pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013
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A Brookhaven construction company was among the victims of a Hinds County theft ring involving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen heavy equipment.
A tip from a concerned citizen led to the discovery of a site where stolen equipment was located and the arrest by the Hinds County sheriff’s office of two suspects apparently involved in the black market operation.
Eric Hart of Hart’s Landscaping and Construction at 1045 Williams St. in Brookhaven was one of the victims of the theft ring. Hart’s company had a contract at a work site in the Hinds County area.
In the last three weeks, thieves stole anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000 worth of Hart’s equipment from the site, including a Caterpillar backhoe, drilling equipment, diesel tanks and a gooseneck trailer, according to Hart.
By the time the Hinds County sheriff’s deputies became aware of the theft ring, much of Hart’s equipment had been reduced to scrap.
“Nearly everything is gone. The one thing that I did get back was the gooseneck trailer. That’s really about it,” said Hart.
Fortunately, Hart says he will be reimbursed by his insurance policy for stolen property that wasn’t recovered, or has already been sold for scrap.
Besides Hart’s equipment, authorities recovered several large tractors, backhoe type equipment, 4-wheelers, 4-wheel drive trucks and a number of other items.
Although put on hold for a couple of weeks, Hart says he still has the work contract and expects to be reimbursed by his insurance company within the next few weeks.
On Tuesday, deputies were hauling out the stolen equipment while Hart and other victims of theft were on hand to identify their property.