- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - Some snowplow contractors are nervous after numerous thefts by equipment thieves around Indiana.

Thieves have stolen the truck-mounted snowplows that can cost $7,000 or more from businesses in different parts of the state in recent weeks.

Kevin Van Sessen of Blade Cutters Landscaping in Crown Point said someone cut through the fence of his business and drove off with a plow truck last month.

“They are not scrapping the plows. They are selling them,” he told The Times of Munster (http://bit.ly/1CLwu5V ). “We are talking about a piece of equipment that costs $4,500 to $8,000, and people want them because the snow was so bad last year. The thieves know they can get a good penny for them, and they are able to sell them on eBay or Craig’s List without a title and get the big money.”

Joe Ladd, the owner of R.A.L. Landscaping and Garden Center in Schererville, said someone stole one of his trucks after he dropped it off for service work and cut off the snowplow - costing him nearly $10,000 for the plow and repair costs.

“So many friends of mine in the industry have had trucks stolen,” Ladd said. “There’s too much money involved, especially after the last winter.”

Thieves also made off with five large snowplows weighing more than 800 pounds each from an Indianapolis landscaping business last month after cutting through a fence and knocking out floodlights.

Max Groen, of Cutting Edge Landscaping in the Lake County town of St. John, had a plow and truck stolen from the driveway of his home Dec. 11. He said it appears someone unhooked the battery and towed it away. The truck was found last week, undamaged, in East Chicago.

It’s Groen’s second experience with plow thieves. Another truck was stolen three years ago that was never recovered.

St. John Police Chief Fred Frego said snowplow thefts are a problem every year around this time. He instructs officers that, if they see someone driving a snowplow truck at night, to stop and check the ownership.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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