LANCASTER – A 47-year-old man suspected of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment from local construction sites was arrested Tuesday, authorities said.
Wayne Willis was arrested around 10:50 a.m. after deputies raided his Lancaster property and found nearly 100 pieces of serialized construction equipment, some of which had altered serial numbers, according to Lancaster Community Relations deputy Miguel T. Ruiz.
One of the items, a stolen Bobcat skid-steer loader, is what led deputies to Willis, Ruiz said. He said the Bobcat was reported stolen Tuesday morning from a local construction site near 20th Street West and Lancaster Boulevard.
The item was equipped with a Lojack system, and deputies tracked the signal to a Willis’ home in the 44000 Block of Cedar Avenue in Lancaster, Ruiz said.
They executed a search warrant at the property and confiscated nearly 100 pieces of construction equipment and other items believed to be stolen, Ruiz said.
“Several generators, several circular saws, drills, an air jack hammer… It was pretty much a broad spectrum of construction equipment and heavy equipment that would commonly be used at a construction site. All those items were serialized or had altered serial numbers,” Ruiz said, adding that deputies also seized two quad bikes and three motorcycles.
“None of them were registered to him nor could he provide any documentation or proof of who the lawful owners were,” Ruiz said.
Willis was arrested for grand theft and jailed in lieu of $35,000 bail.
Detectives are now working to identify the rightful owners of the equipment and stolen property.
“We’re asking for patience to let us contact those victims that we know of, and then if we need further help, we’ll appeal to the public,” Ruiz said. “This will prevent an inundation of phone calls for the investigators that might delay the process.”
Willis is due in court Thursday to face charges.