Luck of the Irish?

Stolen backhoe returned to city thanks to citizen

A $250,000 backhoe went missing last week but thankfully it didn’t stay that way for long.

Assistant City Manager Justin Battles said the city’s public works crew discovered their only Caterpillar backhoe was gone from their work yard area when they arrived to work July 21.

Just after 7 a.m., the Mustang Police Department was called to take a theft report as the equipment was believed to have gone missing sometime during the hours of 3:30 p.m. the day before and 6 a.m. July 21, the police report says.

The backhoe, however, was found about an hour after it was reported stolen, the police report stated. Battles said a concerned citizen spotted the equipment parked in the area of S.W. 74th Street and Council Road in Oklahoma City. The citizen pulled the Cat ID number and called it in. The backhoe originally belonged to Canadian County but was donated to the City of Mustang a number of years ago, Battles said.

He did not know any of the details about the equipment, including how old it is, but told police it was valued at $250,000.

Corporal William Carpenter wrote in his report that he found the backhoe parked in a vacant business in the 7200 block of S. Council Road. Oklahoma City Police were called to the scene to take a recovery report and the equipment was released back to the city.

Battles said there is no apparent damage to the backhoe and it is driving normal. He added that the equipment had been used July 20 for a sidewalk job just south of Lowe’s for a new road leading into the Armory.

The backhoe utilizes a double lock-up system to operate it, Battles said. He commented that whomever stole the equipment, had to know what they were doing to drive it off. It is believed that the backhoe was parked at the vacant for someone to return with a trailer to retrieve it, he added.

Battles said the city is fortunate the alleged thief didn’t get the opportunity to come back for the backhoe. He jokingly said the public works superintendent, who just happens to be Irish, assumes luck was on the city’s side in the situation.

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