One of the recovered welding machines at Geo-Tech. They’re worth about $15,000 apiece. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Vehicle, welding machines recovered from theft at Crofton’s Geo-Tech Industries

Suspects still not identified from early Tuesday morning break-in at Crofton business

Communication by the public and awareness through social media resulted in the recovery of one vehicle and three welding machines stolen during a brazen early-morning break-in at Geo-Tech Industries in Crofton.

Thieves made off with a five-ton truck with a loading arm against the cab worth $40,000, a 2013 Ford pick-up valued at $15,000 and three welding machines worth $15,000 apiece — plus tools — sometime around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. The thefts were discovered when employees arrived at work in the morning and the RCMP was called.

“There’s so much trouble in our little area here, way more than there should be — and big stuff,” said Geo-Tech manager Bob Foldy.

Fortunately, one welding machine was discovered just a few hours later on Bare Point Road in Chemainus.

“It looked like it fell off the truck and into the ditch,” noted Foldy.

Geo-Tech was alerted about the discovery by guys the company works with at the Shell Bare Point terminal.

In the early afternoon hours, the large truck with the loading arm was recovered with the other two welders in the back near Oyster Bay, north of Ladysmith.

A short time after that, it was thought the blue Ford had also been located.

“Tips had placed it in the Timberlands area of Ladysmith but we are still actively looking for this vehicle,” noted Foldy.

He feels the Geo-Tech decals on the vehicles played a major part in the recovery of one. Once word got around about the identifying characteristic, he believes the thieves considered them as “hot” and ditched them with the hope of recovering them later once the attention died down.

Geo-Tech has a great still photo of one suspect that was turned over to the RCMP. Foldy believes there had to be multiple people involved.

“We got pictures of these guys loading this stuff,” he pointed out. “One guy has a balaclava and a hoodie. He’s wrapped up pretty good.”

Foldy said the lock was cut and the gate pushed open to gain entry into the Geo-Tech yard.

“We haven’t had any problems for maybe 10 years — lots of little things, but not anything of any value we would have noticed,” he added.

With the increase in theft activity around the area, “I’m sure they’re scoping these places out,” Foldy indicated.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.

Geo-Tech specializes in all types of custom fabrication and services to the pulp and paper, mining and petroleum and chemical industries worldwide.

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One of the vehicles with a lift looks similar to this one. (Photo submitted)

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