Thieves' Mistake Gets Them Caught Stealing Construction Equipment

Franque Thompson OMAHA (KPTM)- Two men were arrested, Thursday, for the theft of a construction vehicle. Police said Robert Black and Shane Benscoter were booked at the Douglas County Department of Corrections for stealing a skid loader, worth $35,000 from a customer who was renting the machine from Hertz Equipment Rental. "We've had skid loaders in the past, when they disappeared we usually don't get them back. It's a rarity that we get them back," said Jack Lucas of Hertz. Lucas said trying to track the two men down wasn't easy. He said they first stole the machine near 72nd and Ames, then hid it in a woman's backyard near 60th and Taylor. "She'd read off me the asset number that's painted on the side and I looked it up and I called her back and said, 'Yep it's one of our customers.' So, I called him, he ran over there and said, 'Yep that's it.' So, in the meantime, he said, 'I don't have a trailer with me, so I'm going to go get a trailer.' So he goes to get a trailer and in the meantime, they must have been watching him, he jumps back in it and takes off," said Lucas of the situation that happened near 60th and Taylor. He said their next hiding spot was near 24th and Newport. Police said a neighbor called 911 because they saw someone driving the skid loader at night with no lights on. Police also said the neighbor watched the driver back in the skid loader through some gates and into a garage. "Last night, [police] called me, I was ecstatic. I said 'When can I get my truck and come down and get it?' So I come down and got in the truck and met him down there," said Lucas. Lucas said he is glad the skid loader back on his lot because if it were gone for good, he would have to charge his customer $35,000 dollars to replace it. "Without the police department and the public we would have never got it back," he said. Police said the two men were booked for theft by receiving $1,500+. Lucas said it's unfortunate how easy it is to get a hold of keys that will start up the skid loaders. He believes that's how the thieves were able to take it. Lucas said all of Hertz's rental equipment will eventually have GPS units to help him track where they are.