The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario have become hotbeds of equipment theft, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette last week. Between $30 million and $40 million worth of heavy equipment disappears annually in Canada, the report said, and is never recovered. Backhoes, front-end loaders, tractors and skid-steer loaders rank among the most commonly stolen items.
As a result of booming construction industries and proximity to ports, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are particularly vulnerable, according to George Kleinsteiber, a security consultant who worked 18 years as an Ontario Provincial Police detective specializing in equipment theft.
Most machines are stolen from secluded jobsites or the parking lots of construction sites, the report said. With payoffs fairly high and penalties fairly low — considered a property crime, offenders usually get off with probation — equipment theft is viewed as a low-risk crime, the report said.