Law enforcement officials say there has been a rise in the number of thefts of heavy equipment, particularly farm equipment, from dealers, rental companies and farms.
Police discussed the growing trend, which some attribute to the slumping economy, at a conference this week held in Springfield, Missouri, by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control and the Greene County Sheriff's Office.
Greene County sheriff Jim Arnott told the conference that law enforcement attempts to notify equipment dealers when they learn of a theft. "We notify these dealers that, Hey, we've had something stolen,'" Arnott said, according to reports.
Law enforcement officers at the summit said it helps train officers in how to track down equipment with VIN numbers and other investigative tricks of the trade.
Representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, National Insurance Crime Bureau and National Equipment Register have come together to create a training program that covers both investigative and preventative measures.
The National Equipment Register estimates the value of stolen equipment in the United States is between $300 million and $1 billion annually.