A backhoe worth $85,000 and owned by Hawaii-based Henry’s Equipment Rental and Sales, was recently stolen from a contractor’s jobsite in Nanakuli.
According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the suspect, 48-year-old Vance Grace, also stole equipment, including another backhoe, a cement mixer and a trailer from two other local construction companies. Grace contacted the owners of the equipment, including Fran Silva, president of Henry’s, offering to sell it back to her for $1,500.
Grace has several prior convictions and is charged with two counts of first-degree theft and attempted first-degree extortion. Six other backhoes were discovered on Grace’s property in Wai’anae, according to police.
Equipment theft is a common problem because a common key is used to start many machines. Many contractors and rental companies are now installing additional devices that require a separate key to combat the problem.