North Idaho

Thief steals backhoe from Coeur d'Alene job site

Thief steals backhoe from Coeur d'Alene job site

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A Coeur d'Alene man needs help after thieves stole his backhoe, what he calls the key to his livelihood.

The backhoe disappeared from a construction site on Prairie between Atlas and Huetter.

It's not uncommon in the construction industry to set up for a job the night before, meaning leaving tractors and trailers at a job site so come the next morning you can get to work. Well, that's exactly what Matt Aparicio with Aparicio Excavating was doing on Monday night like he'd done many times before.

Unfortunately at 6:30 Tuesday morning Aparicio was ready for work only to find his 2005 Caterpillar backhoe was gone. At first he thought it was a miscommunication with his staff or maybe friends were playing a joke on him.

"Then it just kinda set in that wow somebody really could have stolen this backhoe," he said.

He's says in all his years growing up in the construction industry he's never known anyone to have a huge piece of equipment like this stolen. The equipment is not only vital to his business but to his family as well.

"It's the life blood of me and my family. It pays the bills. It's like a framer without a hammer," he explained.

When the recession hit Aparicio needed to cut costs where ever he could, and keeping his $1,800 a month insurance payment didn't seem like a feasible option. Unlike so many Aparicio's company made it through the recession.

"I'm thinking 'Yeah I'm finally doing this!' Feeling kinda proud, proud of myself of what me and my wife had accomplished," he said.

As of now there are no leads and with equipment like this anyone could have gotten away with it.

"Caterpillars are all operated off of the same key. You can get a backhoe key, stick it in a dozer, backhoe key, put it in a grader," Aparicio said.

A used backhoe will cost Aparicio anywhere from $60,000 to $70,000, a huge setback for him. He said he's not a vindictive person, he just wants whoever stole it to bring it back no questions asked.

"It's really about me and my family, and it's me and my three kids and you took everything away from me to provide to provide for that family," he said.