Thieves Target Grants Pass O-DOT Facility

, Written by Kyle Aevermann, Posted: Fri, May 17 2013 at 6:00 PM, Updated: Fri, May 17 2013 at 7:06 PM

The fact that crime is up in Josephine County doesn't seem to surprise most residents anymore.

But a recent rash of burglaries is costing taxpayers some big bucks.

Something didn't look quite right when crews arrived to work at O-DOT's Grants Pass office Wednesday morning.

"A one ton truck was up on jacks and all four tires and wheels were stolen," said Gary Leaming, spokesperson for ODOT.

It's the sixth time in the past 18 months the yard has been broken into.

And there are very few clues to help authorities find those responsible.

"The difficulty in cases like this are people will take tires and property like that, usually there is not a lot of evidence left behind. They don't leave fingerprints or something like that because they are touching the property they take," said Lt. Jim Hamilton, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

The department says they've seen a nearly 50% increase in property thefts.

They've also noticed thieves are shifting their targets towards businesses instead of residential areas.

"The businesses get hit because there usually isn't someone that there 24/7 so when they are closed it's an opportunity for them to sneak in," said Hamilton.

Over the past year and a half, O-DOT has had to replace everything from stolen generators to slashed fuel hoses.

The latest theft will cost nearly $3,000 to replace. But that's just small fraction of what the department and ultimately you, the taxpayer, is really paying.

"If you look at the totality of the vandalism and theft from our facilities we are looking at more than $100,000. this is resources we really should be putting back into our road to keep the highways maintained," Leaming said.

The department is now looking at ways to increase security measures around all of their properties, so more thefts don't occur.

Meantime, if you have any information regarding any of the thefts you are asked to call the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety at 541-450-6260.

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About the Author

Kyle Aevermann

Kyle Aevermann reports weekdays and anchors NBC 5 News Weekends. He joined NBC 5 News in March 2012 as a morning producer and reporter. Prior to joining KOBI, Kyle interned at KISL-FM on Catalina Island, CA. He was also a regular contributor to CNN's citizen journalism program.

Originally from the Chicago-land area, Kyle moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to work in the social media industry. Kyle enjoys hiking, traveling, learning about cultures, and has a serious love for food.

Catch Kyle anchoring weekends on NBC 5 News at 6pm and 11pm.

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