Tools of the trade being stolen from Edmonton construction sites

EDMONTON – Construction companies around the city are being hit by crafty thieves looking to make a quick buck by stealing tools, equipment and materials from job sites.

It’s a problem that construction worker Giovanni Casagrande has encountered before.

“They took a grinder to the side of a trailer and just took the whole door out and probably stole about $10,000 to $15,000 of tools,” said Casagrande.

It’s a growing concern around construction sites in the city. Cory Layton, another construction worker, said some surprisingly large equipment has been stolen from his sites — such as a zoom boom.

“It’s a piece of equipment you would need a big truck and trailer to transport out of here,” he said.

“It’d be very tough to steal on its own.”

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Beyond the costs of work stoppage and equipment replacement, the thefts are costing the companies in other ways.

“It makes it hard for the insurance companies to want to insure me and it doesn’t make it economical for me to have the insurance,” he said.  Layton estimated his insurance has tripled because of the thefts.

The police have a hard time working these kinds of cases. With a growth in Edmonton’s population and more construction sites, the number of thefts is growing, said Inspector Ed McIsaac.

“If the thief wants it and without someone being there to monitor it, then we’ll have to try and recover it somehow.”

McIsaac said the public plays a big role in reporting incidents, but tracking down the owners of the equipment is difficult.

“A lot can be recovered.  It’s how we get it back to the right owner.”

McIsaac said it can be hard to return the tools if they don’t have the right serial numbers.  With GPS, some stolen equipment can be returned to the rightful owners.

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