FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – When pricey construction equipment is hanging nearly 3 stories above the ground from a fork lift that works as a crane, you’d think it would be tough for crooks to snatch.

Not if they know how to hot wire the fork lift.

“I walked over to the forklift,” said construction worker John Klaes.  “I looked up underneath there and I could see where wires had been stripped back where somebody had apparently hotwired the machine to lower the welders .”

Investigators believe after hot wiring the forklift – the crooks pulled a truck under the welding machines lowered three of them into a truck and took off.

This happened on the weekend of June 3rd, when the construction site on  busy NW 27th Avenue was shut down.  The sit is just a block from BSO headquarters.

Detectives say it even could have happened in broad daylight, with the crooks acting as though they were there to work.  They’ve seen it before on other cases.

“The suspects we took into custody at the time had gone so far as to put on the safety vest, the florescent orange and green, the hard hats and they looked the part,” explained BSO Detective Dan Mellies, referring to a previous case.  “They knew the language of the construction site they knew the ins and out of where they needed to go and what they needed to do.”

This type of machine is the power supply used by welders.  Selling it on the street would not be easy – it comes with a hefty $9,000 price tag, and calls for a very specific buyer.

“It would be like if someone said, ‘hey I got a welder in the back of my truck,’” said CBS4’s Ted Scouten to Bob Davis from Skyline Steel.

“I mean, it’s never happened in my lifetime, we buy them from dealers,” Davis laughed.

If you have information that can help investigators call Broward Crime Stoppers at  (954) 493 -TIPS.

Comments (2)
  1. Phil Landers says:

    I could hotwire a forklift with 2 paperclips or a pair of jumper wires and put it back like nothing ever happened just to add to the confusion. Yawn, stretch . . . Amatures. Fyi I never stole anything in my life but I have reposessed a lot of different things with permission from the owner / lien holder.

  2. Chet says:


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