TULSA, Okla. — This is the time of year police say thieves are active, stealing construction equipment. Now it’s happened to a small business owner in Tulsa who says it’s nearly put him out of business.
On a small lot near 46th place and Mingo sits piles of rocks, sand and soil. It may not look like much to the average person but to Kevin Davis it’s how he makes a living. Now he can’t do that after thieves stole a key piece of equipment from his materials yard.
“I usually keep it parked back here (behind his shed) so it’s not visible from the street,” Davis said.
Kevin Davis and his wife own and operate the Kevin Davis Co. For about 20 years they have been selling and delivering materials like gravel, sand and soil to customers. He took time off to celebrate his grandson’s birthday and father’s day but when he came back to work Monday morning his Bobcat 751 was gone.
“You can see the tracks where they turned the machine around and headed out toward the road,” he explained.
Now his operations are down.
“It’s a main piece of equipment, a tool that I use daily to load these materials onto this truck so I can deliver it around the community in green country,” Davis said.
This type of theft is something Tulsa police say is common.
“The reason being there’s a lot of money involved. These pieces of equipment are extremely valuable and there’s a high demand market for them to be stolen and then sold,” said Lt. Chase Calhoun with the Tulsa Police department auto theft unit.
Lt. Calhoun says since this is a common occurrence during the summer months as construction ramps up. He suggests a couple of things businesses can do.
“They can install tracking devices, whether it’s GPS, on some of these heavy industrial pieces of equipment that will allow us to locate them in the event they are stolen," Calhoun said. "The other thing they can do is hire a job security or on site security for job constructions sites. That's also a really good option. A lot of times that a deterrent to criminals coming on the property and actually stealing their equipment overnight.”
Davis isn’t sure when he will be back to operating since new bobcats are slow to come off the assembly line and people are hanging onto their old ones since they can’t get new ones. Inflation is also driving up the price.
“New equipment is way more expensive. Used equipment is also more expensive and very hard to find so it’s not a great time to be in this situation for sure,” Davis said.
Even with that, Davis is staying positive and just hoping he can get his bobcat back or find and afford a new one.
“I'm looking forward to getting back to being busy again and doing what I do. I love what I do,” he said.
Davis says he plans to get a tracker for his equipment and keep it locked up inside his on site storage unit so this doesn’t happen again.
Family member created this GoFundMe to help pay for Davis to get new Bobcat.
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