The first call Matt Stukenberg got on his birthday Thursday morning was to hear that his company’s backhoe had been stolen from the Hofbrauhaus job site in Belleville.
“You can see the tracks where they drove it out; then they would have had to load it onto a semi,” he said.
Stukenberg is the president of DMS Excavating, of Mascoutah, which is the general contractor on the site.
“It was there at 6:30 last night, and at 6:30 this morning it was not there,” Stukenberg said, noting that the backhoe must have been hauled away via Illinois 15. “That’s a heavily traveled road, even during the night.”
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Stukenberg said the Case 590 backhoe was purchased new by the company sometime in the mid-2000s for about $125,000 and is insured. He said the backhoe was locked, but one key runs all Case backhoes, unlike passenger vehicles. Stukenberg said newer models are equipped with GPS tracking systems to help prevent theft of the heavy equipment.
He said a report was made with Belleville police, and DMS’ insurance was notified, and a report was also made with Case. Belleville police did not immediately return requests for comment.
Maybe thieves hid the backhoe and tractor-trailer somewhere nearby, Stukenberg said, and company employees have looked for it.
“They’ve got a lot more hiding spots,” he said glumly of the thieves.
The company will bring another backhoe to the Hofbrauhaus to finish the job.
“You can definitely tell when times start getting tougher, because stuff gets stolen on construction sites,” Stukenberg said, recalling a theft about a month ago at the same site that was caught on video.
“You couldn’t read the license plate, but a guy on Sunday morning, at 9 a.m., took a generator and small tools. On a Sunday morning at 9 a.m. — across from the Shrine.”
He added, “It’s not fair, is it?”
Stukenberg turned 38 on Thursday.