Police are investigating a string of burglaries at construction sites this week in both Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
At the Morro Bay Water Reclamation Facility and pipeline sites, burglars left with $300,000 worth of equipment between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
“When the suspects entered the yard, they accessed several storage containers and they moved large pieces of construction equipment,” said Commander Amy Watkins, Morro Bay Police Department.
“[The thieves] did cut the internet line to the construction trailers. They were able to get a sense of when they first came on-site because they were able to see when the construction trailers pretty much lost communication,” said Eric Casares, Morro Bay Water Reclamation Facility Project Manager.
While neither the city nor the construction companies could say exactly what was stolen, most of the damage was done at the water reclamation plant.
“There’s certain equipment that they could have taken that could be tracked and they didn’t take anything that essentially could have been tracked by GPS or anything like that. They stole some kind of commodity items, copper wire and those kinds of things. Things that really could have been easily flipped,” Casares said.
While they do not have all the specifics of the large items that were taken, the project manager believes the thefts shouldn't delay the project too much.
On March 9, another construction site was burglarized. This time, at San Luis Ranch in San Luis Obispo.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department believes the robberies could be related.
"Taken were several large and expensive items including generators, vibrating compactors, survey equipment and power tools," said Sgt. Trevor Shalhoob, San Luis Obispo Police Department.
The estimated value of the stolen equipment is $50,000.
It is believed there were multiple suspects who would have needed a large box truck or trailer to take the property from the site.
Police say the suspects showed sophistication and knowledge about construction sites.
In both cases, police say the thieves knew how to disable security systems and bypass alarms. There were no security guards on-scene.
Because the work at the water reclamation facility is being done contractually, we’re told the city of Morro Bay is not liable for the stolen equipment.
The project is supposed to be finished in July 2022.