Forklift dealers in the southern states are being warned to look out for a scam operation which has seen at least three recent forklift thefts.
Ken Townsend, general manager at Toyota Lift of South Texas, says his dealership lost a Toyota 8FDU25 diesel pneumatic forklift in January, while a similar model was stolen a week earlier from Hugg and Hall in Arkansas. Each machine is worth more than USD30,000.
"The perp goes under the name of Michael Simmons. He calls a branch salesman and says he is with one of our larger customers and talks his way through the process to have the unit picked up with a hotshot (outside hauler contracted to deliver equipment) and billed to the large customer account," Townsend explains.
"We know of two other dealers this same guy has hit," he adds.
The serial numbers of the forklifts stolen in Corpus Christi and Arkansas are 61658 and 84377, respectively.
Anyone who is offered these machines should contact local police, and dealers are urged to ensure that all paperwork is above-board before releasing forklifts to buyers.