Natural gas exploration and extraction is booming in parts of Ohio, and some thieves may view the boom as an opportunity to make a quick buck.
In 2012, there were about 308 reports of theft of heavy equipment reported in Ohio, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The bureau said Ohio had more heavy equipment reported stolen last year than all but nine other states. The bureau said Ohio's high ranking could be linked to increased oil and gas activities.
The theft data was submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center.
Some heavy equipment is especially appealing to criminals because the items are valuable and easy to transport.
Nationwide, mowers and riding or garden tractors accounted for half of all heavy equipment thefts reported.
Loaders were the second most common equipment stolen (accounting for 18 percent of thefts) and tractors also a popular target (13 percent of thefts).
Large bulldozers are very valuable but rarely stolen because they are difficult to transport, the bureau said. Bulldozers accounted for about 1 percent of equipment theft.
Equipment theft across the nation is believed to cost anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion annually. About 10,925 equipment theft reports were submitted to the crime information center last year.
When equipment goes missing, it rarely is found and returned to the rightful owner.
About 20 percent of stolen equipment was recovered in 2012, and last year in Ohio, there were only 59 recoveries.
To help combat theft, the bureau recommends equipment owners remove fuses and circuit breakers when the machines are unattended. Unattended equipment can be "clustered" together to make it difficult to load onto a trailer.
Owners can also install hidden fuel shut-off systems. Owners should document the serial numbers of the equipment as well as other identifying information. Photographing equipment can help recovery efforts.
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