Caught On Video: Thieves Steal Construction Equipment

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Three men and an underage female were videotaped unloading $4,500 worth of construction equipment in Phoenix after absconding with the property from a site in Pine Jan. 5, sheriff's deputies said.

Phoenix police officers arrested Joel Johnston, 30, of Payson, Russell Smith, 30, of Pine, Frank Fyda of Phoenix and a 15-year-old female runaway.

"They stole power tools, compressors, chop saws -- very expensive items," said Detective Brian Havey. "It was a construction trailer and they actually used bolt cutters to force their way in."

The group, Havey said, cased the construction equipment before the burglary.

"We believe they were caught on videotape at Home Depot pricing everything out," Havey said. "And when they were caught, a price list was found in their truck."

The suspects face felonies if convicted, Havey added.

"They'll probably be charged with burglary and trafficking of stolen property," he said. "They've already been charged with possession of stolen goods in Phoenix."

Meanwhile, $10,000 worth of construction equipment, mostly DeWalt products, was taken from a garage in Whispering Pines Saturday.

"We have a description of a white Chevy pickup with silver stripes down the side," Havey said. "There were three people in the truck, two males and one female; both males had dark hair and the woman had light hair."

Havey said a passerby discovered the equipment in the forest.

"The items were removed from the garage," he said. "They took the tools out to the forest, and by the time deputies responded, the tools were gone."

The suspects are still at large. Anyone having information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Gila County Sheriff's Department at (928) 474-2208.

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