Hanover and Henrico authorities make arrest in string of construction thefts

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Friday night investigators think they've caught the man who's gotten away with more than one million dollars worth of construction equipment. Police say 23 year old Rashad Muhammad from Henrico County is now behind bars. He was arrested Monday while transporting stolen equipment for resale.

Police say Muhammad not only stole equipment from construction company lots, but also right off the job site. A tip led police to their man, allowing local construction companies to breathe a little easier.

Weekdays are busy for this construction company developing a portion of the Rutland subdivision, but on weekends, it's an entirely different story.

The Hanover County Sheriff's Department says it made for the perfect opportunity 23 year old Henrico resident, Rashad Muhammad, to make his move.

"It wouldn't be uncommon for him to use this equipment do a job, use it for whatever purpose and abandon it in whatever condition it was in," said Hanover County Sheriff's Department, Captain Michael Trice.

Authorities say Muhammad stole or damaged 23 pieces of equipment over the last several months across Henrico and Hanover County, either vandalizing large construction machinery or stealing it for resale or his own purposes.

"This is our bread and butter. Its ridiculous," said Mark Varlandinghan, foreman for William T Cantrell Construction Company.

This construction company was never hit, but Varlandinghan says he knows of several contractors that were. Bulldozers and track hoes, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece, gone or destroyed.

"It puts us at a standstill, my supervisor would have to arrange to pull a piece of equipment off another job so we can work," said Varlandinghan.

He says he's heard of construction equipment being stolen before.

"It stays out all night, pretty much the equipment stays out in the field 365 days a year," he said. "It's like an automobile, it's like anything, a lawnmower sitting in your yard, it's exposed."

But never to this extent. The arrest of Muhammad now a real relief for contractors across the area.

Muhammad is currently being held in Henrico County, charged with grand larceny and felony vandalism in both counties.

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