O'Fallon Progress

One work trailer stolen, one burglarized in O’Fallon

A landscaping trailer was stolen and a construction trailer burglarized within a week of each other in O’Fallon.

In the first incident, a trailer belonging to Holdener’s Landscaping & Lawn Care was stolen Friday night, according to police.

In the second, a construction trailer belonging to independent contractor Leon J. Diekemper of Shattuc, Ill., 12 miles east of Carlyle, was burglarized between 11:30 p.m. and midnight Monday night in the 500 block of Still Hollow.

“There is a camera in that development where my home is being built, and Leon was doing some framing carpentry work for me,” Keith Poettker, of Poettker Construction and who is having a house built on Still Hollow. “The trailer was enclosed and black.”

Poettker said the survelliance footage showed an unidentified truck in the subdivision in the area under construction off Simmons Road around 9:30 p.m. “probably casing the place” and then again between 11:45 p.m. and midnight — the latter for about 20 minutes, and it was gone, Poettker said.

Diekemper said today he is staying positive in light of the burglary and is continuing his work on Poettker’s home with borrowed tools, and is going through the proper channels of insurance claims with Country Companies.

“When I went there that morning to open her up, I saw it had been forced open and just thought, ‘oh no,’” Diekemper said. “After 38 years of this, I’ve never had anything like this happen before and I’ve always carried insurance and glad too, because for the first time ever I actually have to use it.”

Diekemper said the insuarance adjuster evaluated already and told him he will have a check to replace his property by next week, which totals just under $10,000.

“So far the process with insurance has been good. No sense in getting all made and loosing your head over it all. If they catch the person who did this, there’s just more out there like him,” Diekemper said.

Matt Holdener is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone who reports information that leads to the whereabouts of his stolen 16-foot trailer and all of its contents of landscaping and lawn care equipment, including trimmers, leaf blowers and mowers.

Police issued a statement Thursday asking for the public’s help in locating Holdener’s trailer.

Police recovered footage from city surveillance cameras showing a maroon, extended cab pickup truck driving off with the white trailer at 11:45 p.m. Friday on the Regency Park Drive in O’Fallon.

“We have cameras on the Regency Park corridor,” O’Fallon Police Capt. James Cavins said.

According to Holdener, the trailer was parked outside of HomeTowne Suites, at 148 Regency Park Drive, when it disappeared.

“I was in Kansas City, Mo., visiting my brother over the weekend and didn’t return until Sunday, and that’s when I noticed the trailer was gone,” Holdener said.

He said he used to park his vehicles at home in an O’Fallon neighborhood but was informed by city officials he had to find a new spot because commercial vehicles are not allowed on the street and only one lettered business vehicle is allowed to be parked at a residence.

“I had an agreement with the manager at HomeTowne Suites to have my work dump truck and trailers parked there,” Holdener said. “I had been offered by other local business owners to rent space in their warehouses, but given my agreement, and I felt at the time it was (close) to my house and it was less costly, now I’m kicking myself.”

The trailer was a 2017 Cargo Express, 16-foot enclosed white box trailer with features like a V-nose and a double axle, which is valued anywhere between $2,000 to $8,000, according to Holdener, not including the value of the equipment inside.

“That equipment was my life and my livelihood and I will not let all my blood sweat and tears that I’ve put into this company be for nothing,” Holdener said.

Holdener said he has insurance, but was still trying to sort out his coverage with Liberty Mutual and Travelers Insurance companies.

“We are still investigating, and there may be several victims involved. (The victims) are still taking inventory of whose tools and equipment were stored in the trailer,” Cavins said.

The thief cut the padlock off the door to the trailer, where numerous power and hand tools were stolen, Cavins said.

It’s not clear if the cases are related or what company specifically owned the trailer in the second incident, police said.

“We didn’t release a press statement on this (until today), we just took the reports and are investigating now. We also sent out ‘Be on the Lookout’ notices to all local and surrounding law enforcement agencies to find out about possible similar cases,” Cavins said.

Anyone with information about either case is asked to call the O’Fallon Police Department at 618-624- 4545, ext 0.