Arrests Made in Heavy Equipment Theft Ring

January 16, 2015

A team of law enforcement agencies conducted a joint investigation resulting in the arrest of two men suspected of stealing construction equipment valued at approximately $1.5 million.

The Vanderburgh County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Office, Warrick County Sheriff’s Office, Evansville Police Department and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office investigated a series of heavy equipment thefts from dealerships and construction sites in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties occurring over several years. Through surveillance footage, interviews and evidence collection, detectives were able to identify Andrew Ryan Elpers as the primary suspect.

Detectives learned that Andrew Elpers was traveling between Evansville, Ind., and a property in Madison County, N.C. A search warrant was obtained after detectives observed heavy equipment on the North Carolina property. Another search warrant was issued for the Vanderburgh County property of Thomas Wayne Elpers, Andrew Elpers’ father.

Items recovered from the two properties include excavators, skid steers, farm tractors, utility terrain vehicles, trucks, SUVs, box trailers, flat bed trailers, hydraulic equipment and various machinery attachments. The FBI and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Indiana agencies in recovering the stolen equipment.

Andrew Elpers was arrested in North Carolina on charges of possession of stolen property and awaits extradition to Vanderburgh County on charges of commercial burglary and theft. Thomas Elpers was arrested in Vanderburgh County for commercial burglary and theft and is currently free on bond.