WICHITA, Kansas — The Wichita Police Department is investigating the theft of more than $100,000 worth of equipment, including a truck and bobcat utility vehicle, from a city-owned facility.
It happened sometime between 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday at the City of Wichita storage facility at South Lakes Park, located at 5300 South Meridian.
Among the items stolen were a white, 2007 Chevy pickup with a tandem axle trailer with City of Wichita markings and Kansas tag 69402, and a Bobcat utility vehicle.
Also stolen was a Stihl brand edger, Stihl brand power pruner, 3 Stihl chain saws, 4 Stihl brand back pack leaf blowers, 7 Stihl brand weed eaters and a red Craftsman tool box with several tools.
“It’s not clear right now how they got in. [We] don’t know if, [it] possibly could be forced,” said Lt. James Espinoza, with the Wichita Police Department. “There’s a lock on the building that was not secure, so we don’t know if the lock was not locked.”
Wichita Police are reportedly looking for multiple suspects in this case.
With no signs of forcible entry and multiple locks intact, the Wichita Parks and Recreation Department says the most plausible explanation is that someone hid inside the storage facility, waiting until they were locked inside, then drove off with the stolen items.
KSN asked Wichita city leaders about the procedures that ensure the security of this equipment.
“It’s going to vary for which building we’re talking about. That particular building is, that once we get through working, we lock it up,” explained Marty Miller, the interim director of the Wichita Parks Department.
“It’s costing us extra time, money, and everything else to take care of what’s happened,” continued Miller.
The incident is prompting change at the city level, in how city property is secured.
“We’re going to change our procedures. There’s going to be a policy and a check-out procedure so we know that somebody else is not in the building,” said Miller.
Miller tells KSN that the equipment that was stolen is critical to the function of the department.
“All of the staff at the parks department does the best they can to provide the best possible parks that we can for the citizens of Wichita, and it’s things like this that helps slow things down and keeps us from really doing our jobs,” said Miller. “We need it back to do our job.”
Two trucks were originally stolen. Wichita Police located a truck and trailer the following morning in the area.
If you have any information about the crime, call Det. Gordon at 316-268-4453 or email MGordon@wichita.gov.