The Peoria Journal Star reported that former contractor John Peters, 50, and contractor Eliot Wells, 35, were taken into custody in Peoria September 11 for allegedly stealing pieces of equipment, some as small as a drill bit, that together could hit the million-dollar mark.
A search of Peters’ home last week, the paper said, resulted in the discovery of about $300,000 of property. Caterpillar security first alerted East Peoria police officials to the scheme after one of its workers reported seeing missing items from the plant on eBay.
“We know that we can prove a value of between $100,000 and $500,000, that's why they're charged with a class-one felony,” Tazewell County state's attorney Stewart Umholtz told the Journal, noting that police felt more was taken, but evidence had not yet been uncovered for that.
Peters, whose contractor position with Cat ended in February, has reportedly admitted to starting his theft scheme three years ago, selling about 1000 of the stolen items online.
One item was followed by police investigators from Wells’ possession to Peters’ home. On September 3, the $7500 custom reaction bar was listed on a suspicious eBay account for $1700.
“These individuals were smart, they took high-priced items that were easy to conceal and used a low-tech device, a bag, to conceal the items and take it of the premises,” the official said, noting the pair allegedly carried items from the property in a lunch pail.
Both Peters and Wells are being held on a $500,000 bond.
They will appear in court on October 10 and both face 15 years’ in prison if convicted.