The San Luis Obispo area has been plagued with several thefts as of late January, but they’re fairly unusual, big ticket items.
A pair of thieves are suspected of using fake IDs and prepaid credit cards to rent construction equipment and other expensive items.
Police are looking for a man who identified himself as “John Powell,” according to a California driver’s license, and the woman accompanying him. Both suspects remained at large as of Wednesday, Feb. 25.
According to San Luis Obispo police, the man visited four local equipment rental businesses on Jan. 27: the Rental Depot, Wally’s Bicycles, Arsenal Equipment Rental, and Taylor Rental.
The couple managed to nab three generators, worth $5,500 altogether, and a $2,500 bicycle.
Equipment rental is a big industry in the United States, especially for contractors. Whether they’re looking for the best forklift rentals locally or they need specialized power tools, contractors often rely on rental equipment to reduce expenses and get their work done faster.
In order to better track construction equipment, some companies are turning to using apps and other technology for their products. This month, Getable, an app for renting and tracking construction equipment for contractors, raised $5 million to allow businesses to rent equipment right on an iPad.
The app allows construction companies more freedom to choose where they rent their equipment, and it also allows them to track their equipment and manage the assets of each construction job.
Equipment rental businesses may already have safeguards in place when they track their customers’ purchases, but it could be difficult to keep items secure if they are stored in a parking lot or otherwise not locked up.
The suspects in the San Luis Obispo thefts are described by police as a white or Hispanic man with brown hair and heavy build who appears to be in his late 30s, and a white or Hispanic woman with long brown hair in her early 40s.
Surveillance footage outside Wally’s Bicycle’s showed that the pair had a newer model gray or silver minivan with Cole Chrysler Dodge paper license plates and a brown Labrador with them.