News 12 First at Five/ September 9, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga.--Someone stole a 30 ton cement truck off of American Concrete's property in Augusta early Sunday morning, and took it for a joy ride.
That joy ride quickly turned into a costly rampage, though. Now deputies are trying to find out who did this and why.
Deputies were dispatched to the canal trail by the old King and Sibley Mills around 4:00 AM Sunday in regards to a suspicious vehicle. When they arrived, they found a 30 ton concrete truck on a bike path next to the canal, wedged in between power poles.
TJ Barton with American Concrete received a phone call soon after about the ordeal. He says, "We don't know what they were trying to do. I'm not sure if they were trying to hide it, or dump it in the water, or what."
It's a mystery, but what deputies do know is that someone broke into the American Concrete lot off of 13th Street sometime Sunday morning, and stole one of their concrete trucks. Barton says, "They went through three vehicles, I think found one that had a key, and rammed through this gate."
And the destroyed gate is just the beginning. Barton traced the path of wreckage, and it appears the thief tore down 13th Street, took a left onto Broad, and then a right by the canal near the old King and Sibley Mills.
Barton says, "We know that when he hit the power pole on Broad street, he actually, this shoot he sheered it off, and it actually bent the shoot around and came into the passenger side window."
It as a dangerous journey in a nearly 60,000 pound piece of equipment. Barton says it's a miracle someone wasn't killed, or the truck didn't end up in the canal. The concrete truck is about eight feet wide and a they found it on a bike path maybe 6 feet wide, with the canal to the left, and power poles to the right.
Before the truck got stuck, though, the driver managed to hit 5 power poles along the canal.
Barton says, "Whoever it was was either intoxicated, or didn't know how to drive, because they hit numerous power poles, and easily could have killed somebody."
Barton expects the damage to the truck alone totals about $60,000, maybe more if the frame is bent. They're hoping, in the meantime, someone will get caught and pay for this crime.
He says, "In this economy right now, every business is doing what they can to survive, and for someone to come in and do damage to this extent, and for it to cost this much to repair, it just really hits you in the gut."
The thief left the truck and got away with the keys. American Concrete is offering a $500 reward, no questions asked, for anyone who comes forward with a tip for deputies that leads to an arrest.