Heavy equipment theft prompts air search

Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) The theft of heavy equipment Sunday from a fuel company prompted an air search and calls to state homeland security officials.

Thieves entered Alaska Petroleum's parking lot and stole a front-end loader and a Kenworth fuel truck holding about 200 gallons of diesel fuel.

Alaska State Troopers sent one up an airplane to search for the missing rigs, which were found abandoned on a dirt road not far from the business Tuesday afternoon.

Alaska Petroleum office manager Lisa Sundborg said it's unclear how the equipment was driven off. Keys were missing from the office. The 2001 Kenworth fuel truck is valued at $87,000 and the 1998 Caterpillar front-end loader is valued at $125,000.

The fuel truck is one of 23 home heating oil trucks and the loader is the only one the company owns.

Alaska State Trooper Lt. Lee Farmer said his agency did not take the theft lightly.

''Is somebody outfitting their mining claim or do we have joy riding or do we have something more nefarious in the works?'' he said.

Troopers notified the FBI of the theft.

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