Altus cemetery theft hurts city financially

Altus cemetery theft hurts city financially
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

ALTUS, OK (KSWO) -Altus Police are investigating after equipment was stolen from the city's cemetery workshop over the weekend.

Altus Police say they were notified early Saturday morning after an employee received a tip that their garage door was slightly open. They said it looked like someone pried open the office door at the cemetery to get into the garage. The thieves took an ATV, a portable air compressor and a 12-foot flatbed trailer that was hooked up to a city truck outside the garage. Police believe the thief loaded the ATV and compressor onto the trailer, attached it to their own vehicle and drove off.

Assistant City Manager Matt Wojnowski says they're looking to see if insurance will be able to cover anything, but it still hurts them financially. The workers now have to take on an extra work load because they only have one ATV. He says the rest of the week, they'll be discussing security measures and how to replace what was lost.

"I got a call from our supervisor Saturday morning, and when I got here I noticed our door had been bent back and the garage door was partially up," said Bob Konen, a cemetery worker.

Konen has worked at the Altus cemetery for more than two years and says he's never had anything like this happen before.

"It's just disrespectful," he said.

Konen says he doesn't know exactly how much the stolen equipment cost, but says it's enough to hurt the city financially to have to replace.

"We have to reorganize and reprioritize and find ways in the budget to replace those items," Wojnowski said.

Wojnowski says the city equipment is ultimately paid by tax dollars, and losing these resources only adds more work to be done.

"This just slows down the progress of our operations and our work, so we just ask the public to be patient as we do the best we can with the resources that we have," Wojnowski said.

Konen says he's looking to make some changes around the office and will be extra cautious when it comes to keeping equipment safe.

"Taking keys out of vehicles, even though they're locked up in the garage, so we will take keys out and things of that nature," Konen said.

The City is looking into getting security cameras and an alarm to hopefully stop this from happening in the future.

Konen says the ATV that was taken is a 2012 John Deere Gator, 4x2 model, and if you see it or the trailer, call Altus Police or the Altus/Jackson County Crime Stoppers at 580-482-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

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