Thieves targeting rural grain elevators

Courtesy Terry Spradley, St. John News

Courtesy Terry Spradley, St. John News

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Grain elevators have been the target of a recent string of thefts.
Now, sheriff's departments are warning businesses that the problem may spread in Kansas.

"We need our tools to keep things running," said David McBee, location manager of the Mid Kansas Coop in Wichita. "What the guys get out of it, that steal them are nothing compared to what it takes for us to replace them."

Tools and equipment are among the items taken recently out of Kingman County, according to an Associated Press report. The sheriff's department reports at least 15 burglaries have occured at elevators from the Colorado border to the county. Reno county has seen the problem too. Rural grain elevators appear to be targeted.

McBee said MKC has been victim to theft. More than a year ago, someone stole copper wire from the company. He said tools can be just as expensive.

"Yeah, they're only $300 or $400 a piece, but you know, three or four times that and it starts adding up pretty quick," he said. "In the last year-and-a-half or so, they have broken in and taken a few tools."

McBee said the company has added cameras and extra security. Since then, he hasn't seen any problems.

"I feel a little more secure," he said. "We've kind of upped the lighting up here also. Just knowing that they're here makes me feel better that there's a chance we'll catch them. We'll catch them.


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