Police investigate string of semi trailer thefts across Michiana
“To my knowledge, in our 20 year history of being in this location, we have not had this kind of a theft,” said Donovan Mowery, the Warehouse Manager at LaSalle Bristol.
Several companies in Elkhart were targeted in the last 45 days. Their semi trailers were stolen right off their lots. There were also some thefts in South Bend. Now, police are now working with each other to investigate.
“Networking with other agencies so there's the sheriff’s department or South Bend or Saint Joe County. As they get information, you know, we can share that and hopefully be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Chris Snyder with Elkhart Police Department.
Eight of those trailers originally came from Kingman Mobile Storage in Elkhart. They’re leased to businesses in the county like LaSalle Bristol.
“We’ve had three trailers stolen from the lot during the evening hours when the facility is closed,” said Mowery.
Mowery says nothing was in those trailers, but nonetheless, the theft is costing them big bucks.
“You’re talking about a value of approximately 20,000 dollars for all three trailers,” said Mowery.
So how do police go about catching these thieves?
“We get the serial or Vin number for the trailer, were able to enter that into a state and national computer so that if anybody runs that the number, if they were to get pulled over for some reason, it would come back as being stolen,” said Snyder.
However, Mowery says that will be difficult since all the trailers stolen from them were intended for storage only so they weren’t plated for road use. Now, he says the company has taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“We have put glad hands locks on all the trailers which disable the e-brake line so the trailer cannot be moved off the lot,” said Mowery.
Police suggest other businesses follow suit.
“Whether its locks on the trailer, making sure you’re buildings are secure, different things like that. We certainly encourage all the businesses to come up with some type of system to be able to secure your property,” said Snyder.
Elkhart police say they have received surveillance video from LaSalle Bristol of that theft happening. There are no suspects at this time, however they are working with those other agencies to collect all of the details for leads on the investigation.