Trailer thefts are a big problem in Green Country all year long, but even more so in summer months. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports trailers are hard to track because they are not tagged, and she explains how to protect your property from thieves.
Most privately owned trailers are stolen during the day, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., while most commercially owned trailers are taken between midnight and 4 a.m. That was the case for a Tulsa man who had a company truck, trailer and thousands of dollars worth of equipment taken last weekend.
John Henzel owns a Tulsa business called Tennis Court Systems. He builds and resurfaces tennis courts all over the area, and his equipment is highly specialized. Henzelâ€™s crew had just loaded a Bobcat 7753, a 5,000 psi Honda power washer, and Edco grinders that look like lawnmowers but have wheels that help smooth out surfaces, onto a 20 foot yellow trailer Saturday evening. The crew was getting ready for a big job out of state, but by Sunday morning it was all gone, stolen from a locked area near 13th and North Utica.
"I have a whole city right now, new sports complex over by Topeka, had to give them the news yesterday, very disappointed. Have another school system out of town, I was just waiting a day or two to figure out what to do," said theft victim John Henzel.
John faxed pictures of the stolen gear to all the Tulsa police stations Wednesday afternoon. When officer Tim O'Keefe saw the picture he realized he'd seen the truck so he went to check it out, and sure enough it was John's truck. The problem is the trailer and all the equipment is still missing.
â€œI managed to put quite a bit together over the years. When you start adding things up, to replace everything, could easily spend $100,000 to replace this and I just can't do it overnight," Henzel said.
John plans to work through the Crime Commission to offer a $5,000 reward to get his property back.
"I just want to catch the people. I hope the reward, $5,000, I just want to catch them whatever it takes," he said.
Police believe many of the stolen trailers are repainted and sold at auctions. As for tools, they're likely pawned.
Most trailers that get stolen have little or no security on them. Wheel locks cost around $50 and keep the tires from rolling, tracking microchips are also available. At the very least you should engrave your drivers license number or a code word on your items so they can be identified.
Anyone who knows where John Henzelâ€™s equipment is should call Crimestoppers, 596-COPS.