Wichita plumbing owner watches theft of excavator unfold before his eyes

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – For Bowers Plumbing Company owner Kendall Cooper, a regular Sunday morning at home quickly turned into a nightmare this past weekend.

Cooper says around 8:30 in the morning Sunday, he received a notification on his phone from his workplace’s security system. When he opened it, he says he witnessed a brazen theft unfold before his eyes.

“So I picked up and looked at it, and there was a guy hitching up to our trailer and…was like, ‘Oh, shoot! That’s not one of our trucks’, and so I told my wife—I was like, ‘I gotta go’. I hopped up from the table, called 911, and drove on out here,” Cooper said.

But five minutes later, Bowers Plumbing Company’s only trailer and excavator were gone.

“[He]…took out the bolt cutters, cut the chain, and backed the truck up into the gate to open it, and backed up and took the trailer. It was, felt, a little bit helpless to be honest,” Cooper said.

Cooper says his company is renting new equipment for now, costing him hundreds of dollars a day. He also has not received confirmation the excavator will be covered by insurance.

“It looks like it’s going to be closer to $30,000 for getting one new, but an equivalent used one, I’d have to fly to Washington to pick one up. So it basically means we’re not going to be profitable in our job, or we have to hope insurance comes through,” Cooper said.

Cooper says despite what’s happened, there is one silver lining.

“Two of my managers posted everything on social media for us, and it’s been encouraging to see everyone trying to find it for us. I just really appreciate that people are willing to look for it, and that’s the only way we’re going to find it,” Cooper said.

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