This giant excavator was stolen in broad daylight from a work site in Belmont about a month ago. It has been found in New York, to the relief of owner John DeWare, a Belmont contractor. (Courtesy photo)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — The owner of an expensive 17-ton excavator that went missing in late March expressed relief Friday after his big, yellow digging machine was found in New York state.
“I've had a lot of help from friends who have been concerned and have been keeping their eyes open and trying to help me find this thing,” said Belmont-based contractor John DeWare. “Now everybody can put it to rest.”
The Volvo excavator is worth $75,000 in its present used condition. It is important to DeWare's building and site work business.
“It's been an inconvenience and there has been some work I've not been able to do,” he said.
DeWare said it still may be quite a while before he gets his heavy equipment back. Police have custody of the machine while they investigate the case.
DeWare had offered a $1,000 reward. Once he is allowed to take custody of his excavator, he will have workers load it on a trailer and haul it back to Belmont so he can put it back to its digging duty.
Belmont police Lt. Richard Mann said a property owner in New York notified law enforcement that the machine had appeared on his land. Authorities checked serial numbers on the machine against a national database of stolen property and found it was the one stolen from Belmont.
Nobody has been arrested, but Mann said he is hopeful that one will be made. He declined to provide the exact location where it was found, saying he didn't want to hamper New York authorities in their investigation.
"New York police are actively investigating the matter to determine who had the machine and how it got to the state of New York," he said. "To preserve the integrity of the case, there are a number of details that cannot be provided at this time as to the vehicle's exact location and nature of its discovery."
Mann said he's glad the story of the stolen excavator has a happy ending.
“I like these stories to end like this one,” Mann said. “We get to call the owner and say the equipment has been found in one piece, in good condition. We're more than happy.”
Heavy equipment theft is a widespread problem, Mann said. The valuable machines are often left unattended at work sites, making them a valuable target for thieves who can get them started and loaded on a trailer.
The machine was taken from 151 Gilmanton Road, Route 140 in Belmont. It was reported stolen on March 29.
Police said the culprits apparently loaded the machine onto a trailer and removed it in broad daylight, perhaps thinking passersby would consider it regular commercial activity.
It did not have a key in it when it was stolen. It was parked at a residence where DeWare was preparing to start a job.
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