Stolen, submerged construction equipment under investigation


CASTLE HAYNE, NC (WWAY) — Officers spent more than 12 hours pulling stolen construction equipment out of the Cape Fear River Wednesday.

Early Wednesday morning, law enforcement was called to Ansco & Associates, after equipment was reported missing.

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Just a few hours later, a drone spotted a large oil slick near the Castle Hayne boat ramp.

By 1 am Thursday morning, law enforcement had recovered two trucks, two trailers, and two mini excavators from the water, with zero witnesses.

“It took place around 2 am,” said Lt. Jerry Brewer, with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. “So that time of night there’s usually not a whole lot of people at the boat ramp. Obviously they operated in the middle of the night.”

The whole operation took twelve hours, requiring a full dive crew, crane, and tow trucks to remove the stolen equipment.

“It took us a lot longer than we expected just because there was a large ledge that the equipment had gone over,” Brewer explained. “So the first retrieval equipment we had there, the tow trucks, those weren’t able to get it up over the ledge. That’s why we had to bring the crane in. To lift it up off the ledge and bring it in.”

After the equipment was recovered, it was taken to Phillip’s towing yard. Now, the case is under investigation.

“We’re able to follow up on some leads, and hopefully we’ll get someone arrested.”

The boat ramp is just a six minute drive from Ansco & Associates. We reached out to their local and corporate offices, but they did not want to comment.

A local ADT agent said he’d recently installed a security system and cameras in nearby houses. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office asks Castle Hayne residents near the boat ramp or Ansco & Associates to look through security footage and send anything out of the ordinary to law enforcement.