Local News

Thief boosts Caterpillar from construction site

Front loader found Wednesday afternoon two miles away

Stolen front loader found two miles from construction site

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Authorities confirm they have found a unique item stolen from a Spokane Valley job site Saturday morning: A $100,000 40,000 pound Caterpillar front loader.

The front loader was found two miles away from the construction site.

The contractor working at the job site, located at 16102 East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley said the Caterpillar was driven right off the job site, the thief knocking over the gate while making his slow speed getaway.

It's not like stealing a wallet or breaking into someone's car; to steal a front loader you need to be skilled at operating heavy machinery, and Jack Gillingham is hoping someone just happens to spot a large piece of machinery somewhere it looks out of place.

"Hopefully it'll turn up someway somehow," Gilligham of Gillingham Construction said Wednesday morning.

Gillingham said someone stole the Caterpillar off his construction site Saturday morning. The front loader uses a universal key but he said his crew always takes the key out of the ignition.

"Anybody that would steal this would have to bring their own key … yeah somebody (that) has experience in the construction business," he said.

It appears the thief didn't load it onto a semi-truck but instead drove it right of the lot.

"With these big loaders you can push that fence down and drive right out, which they did," Gillingham said.

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies are hoping neighbors saw something or caught the thief on camera.

"It's not very often in Spokane that you see a large front end loader Caterpillar that weighs 40,000 pounds driving down the road," Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Gillingham took matters into his own hands after he realized his front loader was stolen by renting a helicopter for two hours to search the area.

"We flew over the whole valley to see if we could spot it anywhere and unfortunately we did not," he said.

It's not known yet if any arrests have been made.