Excavators stolen from Tacoma construction sites

TACOMA, Wash. — Detectives in the South Sound are searching for an excavator stolen from a job site in Tacoma.

The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force said this is the second excavator that’s disappeared from the area since June.

“I’ve never thought about stealing an excavator,” said Randy Lamonte.

Lamonte came to work Monday morning and noticed someone stole the 2011 John Deere 50D excavator from the construction site he works at on the corner of 72nd Street East and Waller Road East.

“If they had a John Deere key, they could just take it, fire it up, like they did, and scrape the basket back and take off, and that’s what they did, dragged it all the way,” said Lamonte.

The machines cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the crime happens all over the South Sound.

“There are people that are out literally making their living by stealing property and high-end gear all night long,” said Detective Ed Troyer.

The news doesn’t shock Lamonte.

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“That’s just the way it is. If it’s not tied down, they’re going to take it,” he said.

This is the second time someone’s stolen equipment from one of his construction sites.

A couple years ago, someone stole machinery from where he was working in Federal Way.

“They took the excavator, loaded up the welder and just ran off with it,” said Lamonte.

In June, a Kubota mini excavator and trailer were taken 2 miles down the road from the site of this weekend's theft in Tacoma. The excavator was later recovered.

The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force doesn't know if the crimes are connected, but its members are suspicious.

“Usually what happens is they’re either sold on Craigslist for a really reduced rate to offload them quickly, or they’re already preordered by someone else who’s going in and stealing these vehicles on their behalf,” said Lt. Jason Ashley.

With more work left to do, crews said it would be nice to have the excavator to lend a helping hand.

"Maybe they'll find it and bring it back and we can use it again,” said Lamonte.

Investigators said it’s tough to track down machinery because much of it looks the same.

The stolen excavator has the company’s logo, “Quigg Bros Inc.,” on the side.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force at 253-329-2442.