CLEVELAND (WJW) — When employees at Marous Brothers Construction discovered last Wednesday that someone crashed through the front gate at the company’s east side yard on Coit Road in Cleveland and that a valuable piece of heavy equipment was missing, they checked video from their surveillance cameras and it revealed that two suspects broke into the yard and took a front-end loader.
The video shows the thieves using the loader — which weighs more than 30,000 pounds and is worth an estimated $250,000 — to smash their way through the front gate.
Marous Brothers employees said it appears the thieves have experience operating heavy equipment.
“I saw the way they operated the boom in the video and usually the first time when somebody gets into a piece of equipment and operates the boom, they usually slam it across the ground a couple of times and they go forward, backwards. They don’t know really know how to get the gears going, but in this one, it seemed like they knew what they were doing,” Braden Bilicic, a project engineer, told FOX 8 News. “They hit the gate with the front-end loader and they maneuvered pretty well to get out of here.”
The management team at Marous Brothers suspects that the thieves hid the loader in a garage and then attempted to alter its appearance.
“They probably stripped the name, stripped the paint and they probably want to re-sell it and re-use it for snow plowing this time of year in big commercial parking lots at strip malls and places like that. They want front-end loaders plowing instead of plow trucks,” said Bilicic.
Anyone who can help identify the suspects who stole the front-end loader or has information on the whereabouts of the heavy equipment, is asked to call Cleveland police.
The owners of Marous Brothers were victimized again on Sunday night, when thieves broke into one of the company’s construction sites at Superior Avenue and East 125th Street and took a piece of heavy equipment that weighs more than 80,000 pounds.
Police suspect the crooks planned to use the Cat 336 excavator, valued at $500,000, to steal or break open an ATM. However, the earth mover is on tracks and hard to maneuver and it turns out the thieves were amateurs and ended up crashing into trees and utility poles.
“If you really don’t understand fully the fundamentals of an excavator, you know it swings in a circle, goes up and down, it curls the bucket. So if you don’t how to do all those, you might be tracking it with the bucket straight out, straight up, take down wire poles,” said Bilicic.
Investigators said the thieves eventually gave up and abandoned the stolen excavator in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.