Thieves got their hands on more than $1 billion in construction equipment in 2008, according to a new report released by vehicle tracking company LoJack Corporation.
Last year, LoJack recovered more than $15.5 million in stolen construction equipment, according to a new report. Since entering the construction market in 2000, the company has recovered more than $100 million in LoJack-equipped stolen construction assets, the company said.
Construction theft has been fueled by theft rings in a number of U.S. cities, including one gang in Chicago police busted in 2007 with 30 pieces of equipment valued at almost $1 million, the company reported.
Loaders were the primary target of thefts in 2008 and skid steers were the most-stolen items of 2007. Other commonly stolen items are backhoe loaders and other loaders, generators, light utility/work trucks and forklifts/scissor lifts.
Overall, LoJack has discovered more than 40 theft rings and chop shops since entering the construction market. Construction business owners should remember the down economy raises thefts and protect their major investments in equipment, said Ronald V. Waters, LoJacks president
"Construction equipment theft is a high reward, low risk form of theft and equipment is unfortunately an easy mark for thieves due to poor on-site security, ineffective record keeping and a lack of standardized product identification information," Waters said.