Flatbed trailer thefts on the rise

The trailer stolen from Phillips 66 in Holts Summit.

Police say it's uncommon but trailer thefts are on the rise.

A number of flatbed trailers have been stolen from gas stations just off Highway 54 in Holts Summit. In one week - from the end of February to the beginning of March - thieves made off with three flatbed trailers.

Estimated total value: $31,000.

"It's the first we've had stolen in quite a while," said Lt. Charles Mays with the Holts Summit Police Department.

Hays has been with the department for six years and says this isn't the first time he's seen trailers stolen - but it is rare.

The stolen trailers weren't small, most were around 25 feet long and worth about $10,000 a piece.

"It's a shame really," said Craig Luekenotto who sells trailers at Doolittle Trailer Manufacturing. "The ones here locally that have been stolen are the larger style trailers that take a bigger truck to haul. It's not your half-ton family pickup that can haul these trailers off."

He blames the economy and says these large trailers are "worth a lot of money" and could even be sold for scrap metal.

Last month, thieves made off with an 8-wheel, 25 foot flat bed trailer parked behind the Phillips 66 in Holts Summit. There's now a $500 reward, advertised on the gas station's highway billboard.

"After we put up the sign a lot of people were talking about stuff stolen in the area," said Angela James who works at the gas station. "Trailers, Bobcats, small equipment, heavy equipment...It sounds like it could be a problem."

The gas station does have a number of security cameras but managers say the theft happened out of sight of the camera lens.

Earlier this month, two other trailers were stolen right up the road at the Break Time gas station. The trailers were parked behind the building.

"If we find out who they are we will try to get convictions for them," said Lt. Mays. "And they're felony convictions."

Still, many say they're being extra cautious with their trailers. We've also heard reports about another theft in Callaway County recently. A viewer e-mailed our newsroom to report the theft of a garden tractor from a greenhouse.

Holts Summit police won't confirm that but say they're investigating all thefts.