Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

May 22, 2013

Police search for semitrailer looters

Bill Grimes
Daily News

---- — Effingham police are seeking burglars who stole a wide variety of items from a trucking company lot sometime over the weekend.

The thieves broke into three semitrailers at SAIA Trucking, 1414 E. Fayette Ave., sometime before 7:35 a.m. Monday. Police said the crooks gained entry to the trailers by breaking the seal and damaging the roll-up doors.

Taken from one trailer was 40 weed eaters, 12 boxes of flammable aerosols, 87 boxes of leather dressing and 21 boxes of Neatsfoot oil used to soften leather.

Taken from another trailer were an undisclosed number of peppermint stick blocks for horses and hitch steps for pickup trucks. From a third trailer, 420 rods and 140 connecting clasps used to set up horse stalls or pens were stolen.

Also missing after the heist were two flagpoles with a total value of $5,300. Effingham police Det. Scott Volpi said the total value of stolen items is believed to exceed $10,000.

Volpi said police do not believe they are looking for professional thieves. Instead, the cops believe they are looking for amateurs who had access to either a trailer or several pickup trucks that would have been needed to haul several hundred pounds of items that had been headed to the Rural King store in Mattoon before the heist.

"High-end professionals would have taken more items and done a neater job," Volpi said.

Volpi said police don't have any suspects. But he said tips from the public could change that.

"Any information would be great," he said. The detective said the public should be aware of people who have a large number of items they wouldn't normally have.

"If your neighbor has 20 weed eaters in his garage, that's something odd," Volpi said.

Those with tips can call Effingham Area Crimestoppers at 217-347-6583 or 877-477-6583. Volpi said tipsters can earn up to $1,000 for an arrest that leads to a criminal conviction.