$100,000 of stolen construction equipment recovered
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
GORDONVILLE, Mo. - A Cape Girardeau County man's complaint about someone cutting a hole out of his fence leads investigators to more than $100,000 in stolen construction equipment.
Now investigators want your help tracking down the crooks, and the rightful owners.
From hand tools, shovels and rakes to power tools, generators and trailers the list of goods recovered from a home near Gordonville, Missouri goes on and on.
"It looks like most of it was stolen from construction sites," Lt. David James with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department says.
Investigators found the loot and an active methamphetamine lab at the house - just as the owners were being foreclosed and evicted from their home.
"We started finding stuff that was stolen in our police reports so we started seizing the items," he explains.
Investigators say there were a couple of reasons the crooks were able to get away with hiding the stolen property for so long.
Firstly, the house is nestled in a secluded part of the county, and the nearest neighbor is about a mile or so down the road.
Secondly, they had their own surveillance system to watch out for anyone who violated their "No Trespassing" sign. They carefully placed a camera by the gate.
"If you're paranoid, doing what you're doing, it wouldn't be too far fetched," Thad Schwepker, who grew up next door to the people who lived at the house on County Road 227, say of the hidden camera.
A construction worker, now wonders if any of his father's equipment will show up among the recovered stash.
"You would think after so many years of knowing our neighbors, we could leave our stuff wide open and we could trust them. Not so, I guess," he says.
One of the owners - a disabled man - was at the house the day of the search; but family members say they were just as shocked about the find.
They say "they had abandoned the house, and other people would drop off stuff there."
They also say the disabled man was simply there to pick up some items before he was evicted.
In the meantime, if you have questions about the items, have your police report handy, and call the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department at (573) 243-3551.