Easy pickings and a smooth disposal process. High profits. Worldwide, clandestine markets. It sounds like a pitch for joining a drug cartel, but these are some of the reasons heavy machinery is frequently stolen by small-time thieves as well as more sophisticated crime operations.
Equipment is stolen for the simple reason that the reward for the thief is greater than the risk taken. Small pieces like tractors are easily boosted, and heavy equipment has little security, either on the piece itself or in the place it's parked. There's also the time lapse: when a car is stolen, it's realized within hours or even minutes of the theft. When a dozer is parked on a Friday night, it's idle for the weekend. Its disappearance may not be discovered for days or even weeks, creating a big window of time for its disposal.
Since 2001, The National Equipment Register (NER) and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has published an annual report on equipment theft in the United States. The findings are based primarily on data the NICB drew from the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) database of more than 10,000 construction and farm equipment thefts, and information reported to ISO ClaimSearch.® We've condensed some of the information in the following infographic, but you can download the complete report by going to this website - it's concise and well laid-out.