PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – A Pontoon Beach, Illinois business owner says he’s never seen a theft problem like this in his 20 years of business.
Corey Ketrow of K & B Truck Repair says his business has been hit repeatedly over the last few years, with a thief striking again Friday night. Five trucks were targeted by a suspect who cut off catalytic converters and diesel particle filters, even after he saw he was on camera.
“He’s got his tool bag, knee pads on, and turns, sees one of our trail cams we put up, sees it, walks out of view, and that’s all we got of him,” Ketrow said.
According to Ketrow, the suspect went on to cut parts. “…Every single truck down the line until the sun came up.”
He estimates it took less than an hour to do tens of thousands of dollars in damage, for something that might get the suspect a fraction in return.
Ketrow estimates it’s the fifth time he’s been hit recently, with total losses exceeding about $150,000.
Insurance covers some of the costs, but Ketrow fears they’re at risk of losing coverage because of being hit so many times.
They’ve added lighting and cameras, but Ketrow says the thieves even cut their way through a security fence in the past.
“They’re getting so good at it,” Ketrow said.
He’d hoped thefts would drop after October’s police sting at a scrapyard in East Alton.
Now, he fears thieves have just moved to selling the stolen property online.
“This lawless society we’re living in,” Ketrow said. “We’ve got to make it right. Something has got to be done.”
He says Pontoon Beach Police brought him good news that they caught a suspect with the help of their business surveillance video.
“At least we got that and that’s what got him arrested,” he said.
A suspect is now awaiting possible charges from the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. In the meantime, K & B looks into the next steps to just stay in business.