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View Full Version : A little OT: Someone stole my lathe!



strider
07-16-2012, 03:20 PM
I'm really hacked off and need to vent somewhere, and most people don't understand machine tools so here I am.
A while back I acquired a Powermatic (Logan) turret lathe. All set up with collets and ready to go. At the time I had a valve shop where we were rebuilding large valves and I placed the lathe in the shop until I could get space cleared here at my home shop where I prefer to do my machining. Well, my largest customer that was responsible for almost all the work messed up and we were not going to be seeing any work for many months. So I shut down the shop, couldn't justify that many months rent, and moved a number of items to my cohorts house for storage. He had a large garage tucked back behind the house into which my forklift and hoists, and other gear were placed. Didn't really have room for the lathe. So we prepped it and wrapped it up good with shrink wrap and let it sit outside the door until I could get some stuff cleared out of my shop and get it in here. Didn't think anyone would see it let alone walk off with that manypounds of machine.
This past weekend I did nothing but work on getting things cleared up so that I could get everything moved here this coming weekend, or next at latest.
Then I get the call this AM that it was gone. Someone had dragged it off sometime in the last few days.
What really makes me mad is I'm sure I'm not going to find another. Colorado never had much of a real industrial base and finding used machine tools at a reasonable cost is darned near impossible. And to make things even worse, I have a product I wanted to start making and the turret lathe would have made things real easy and fast, and I had some customer stuff that I agr.eed to get started on in the near future. I can kiss all of that goodbye now.
I want to go hit something, or preferably someone.:mad: Thanks for letting me complain guys.
Art

SmoggyTurnip
07-16-2012, 03:27 PM
Wow that sucks and it's hard to believe that someone would steal something that big. I hope your insurance will cover it.

Rustybolt
07-16-2012, 03:32 PM
Fill out a police report. Visit some scrap yards. Keep an eye on your local craigslist.
Where ever it is it didn't go far.

T.Hoffman
07-16-2012, 03:41 PM
Wow, that is crap. Unbelievable the things some will do.

How many days was it sitting there to be seen?
Surely it was noticed by some locals in the area, and I doubt it walked away with just one person.

flylo
07-16-2012, 03:58 PM
That SOB should be shot. The price of scrap here has fell in half. I wonder about people that come here but have a good watch dog, signs posted & 1 house across the street with retirees. But it can happen to anyone. Hope you get it back or get the rotten b*stard thieves.:mad:

Rex
07-16-2012, 03:58 PM
Powermatics are distinctive in their paint job, assuming yours was one of the metallic green w/white racing stripes. Take a stock photo and place a reward poster at the scrap houses in the area.
Who know, you might end up with more than one :)

Edwin Dirnbeck
07-16-2012, 04:05 PM
Sorry about your missing machine.Is there anyway that you could find a picture of a similar machine and post it here . On Craigslist I often see missing items with a small reward. It sounds as if you have the ability to recoop your losses in the future. If you do find it whatever you do ,dont do anything illegal.That could only cause more trouble for yourself. Good luck in the future. Edwin

goose
07-16-2012, 04:09 PM
Wasn't stolen for scrap. Scrap thieves go for copper pipe and wire.

Unlikely it was stolen for resale, too risky to put up on CL or ebay, unless they already had a customer lined up, or moved it across state lines.


Someone saw it, wanted, took it.

Rex
07-16-2012, 04:09 PM
He's in Colorado. I think it's legal to shoot the thieving bastards there. He may have to drag the body back to the shed and prop it up or something. <G>

+ or - Zero
07-16-2012, 04:23 PM
Wasn't stolen for scrap. Scrap thieves go for copper pipe and wire.

Unlikely it was stolen for resale, too risky to put up on CL or ebay, unless they already had a customer lined up, or moved it across state lines.


Someone saw it, wanted, took it.

I think you are half correct in that it probably was not stolen for resale. But if you think thieves do cost benefit analysis think again --if they could steal it, regardless of value, steal it they would. That's what thieves do --hours of work stealing stuff fueled by drugs to get some more drugs.

Best, if not PC, solution would be to plant a tree --use something rotten and useless for fertilizer at the bottom of the hole.

koda2
07-16-2012, 04:55 PM
Art,
I know you're mad as ****, but start thinking and take some action. The sooner the better. You can't move an elephant (lathe) without somebody seeing it. Somebody saw something, a trailer, etc. Start asking.

Hopefully you have some pictures. If not get some of a similar model. That lathe is a very distinctive color scheme.

Make up a flyer and distribute them to the local police (take them to the precincts) but send them also to the Denver police department and to the state troopers. You could probably email a picture to them with pertinent information. I think they would be happy to nail some perps. Anybody who is trained to look and pay attention will be on notice. If that lathe is on the move, a lot of law enforcement is out there looking for the unusual.

The best thing is a serial number of the lathe. You need to get that from someone if you don't have it, previous owner, seller, wherever, and put it with your notice.

Notify Logan lathe Co. that the serial number is a stolen one. If the lathe is not fully functional the thief will need parts if he is going to keep it. Watch eBay. If you know an item is missing and one on ebay gets sold to a Denver area member, its a lead.

Take your flyers to every machine shop AND manufacturing shop you can think of. Anybody stealing one lathe will steal other metal working tools and I think the shops would be happy to do surveillance. Same, even more so, for any scrap dealers within a couple of hundred miles. At least call them and alert them. Some won't give a rip but others will. The last thing they want is some state regulator in their face for failing to report stolen merchandise.

Sent something to any local metalworking clubs and ask them to be on the lookout. People talk and they may hear something.

Even six months from now, something might surface. Some of those flyers may still be around. Don't give up.

Old quote - "All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."
Dave A.

PS Put some pictures up here. This forum has what??? 14,000 members??

Rosco-P
07-16-2012, 05:12 PM
Has the insurance company been contacted? It was on private property, there must be some coverage. Was a police report filed? While the police might not give a hoot, at least get it on record as stolen.

Alistair Hosie
07-16-2012, 05:54 PM
This is so damned annoying! I am sorry truly sorry for your loss. I would hate it if it happened to me.
Any ideas as who might have done this to you.Think hard and keep your eyes open as well as your ears why not put an ad / or short piece in your local news paper they will write up a piece for you for free.Someone must know something.
Sorry again I wish I could help you but someone has been watching your activities over the months,Alistair

T.Hoffman
07-16-2012, 06:16 PM
Sorry again I wish I could help you but someone has been watching your activities over the months,Alistair
Not sure I would agree that someone's been watching for months. Maybe they knew machining equipment was there though.

Theives tend to be opportunists.
They see something sitting outside when they drive past and take notice.
Later that day they see it still sitting outside.
Next thing you know they are stealing it as fast as they can....

Granted this isn't like snagging a gps out of car, this took some planning and equipment to haul off. Once it was noticed.
But all it takes is a couple phone calls among theives to get a truck/hoist/equipment on a moment's notice.

flylo
07-16-2012, 07:24 PM
I'd check with the local towing companies, never know they may have paid to have it loaded or hauled. Just a shot.

rocketsled
07-16-2012, 07:29 PM
I'm in Parker, Co..from what it took to aquire and purchase my Heavy 10, I know EXACTLY what you're talkin' about. Machine tools are few and far between out here. I hope you find it, and I hope you find who did it.

flylo
07-16-2012, 07:32 PM
Wasn't stolen for scrap. Scrap thieves go for copper pipe and wire.

Unlikely it was stolen for resale, too risky to put up on CL or ebay, unless they already had a customer lined up, or moved it across state lines.


Someone saw it, wanted, took it.

I have to disagree on the stealing for scrap part. I called on a pipe bender cheap on C/L. It was elect/hyd & someone broke in the guys garage took all the dies $3500+worth & left the bender. Probably a dopehead.

MrSleepy
07-16-2012, 08:06 PM
I don't think this has been done by an opportunist dopehead.

It would have taken planning and equipment to move that lathe.

But there's always hope ...That USA guy got his Austin Healey back (after 40yrs) when someone tried to shift it on ebay.

Rob

Rosco-P
07-16-2012, 08:16 PM
Exactly what model are we talking about here? 9" turret lathe or something bigger? What's the approximate weight? Three/four determined crackheads/thieves could lean a 1000lb lathe against the tail of a sh!tbox pickup truck and drag it in with ropes. If your destination is a scrapyard, broken handles and scratched paint aren't a concern.

Logan Actuator might be concerned enough to keep the serial# on file, but I think your best hope is with the police and honest (an oxymoron) scrapyard owners.

Dr Stan
07-16-2012, 08:17 PM
I don't think this has been done by an opportunist dopehead.



2X This was done by someone who knew the machine was sitting unattended. Do you know of anyone else who had access to the building, or some hangers on who had been snooping around?

Worked PT for a shop in FL and the owner hired some bikers to do some welding etc paying them under the table. The owner had just purchased several Carolina pieces of equipment. One AM he opened up and they were all gone. :(

mickeyf
07-16-2012, 09:13 PM
Bummer. But thieves can be incredibly stupid. Watch craigslist within 5-600 miles, and don't be at all surprised if it shows up there before long.

oldtiffie
07-16-2012, 09:23 PM
Its almost as if some one knew of the lathe "out there" and that it was stolen "to order".

That (type of) machine is very specialised and very versatile.

If someone knew the value of and use for it it might have been "too good to miss" - the more so if it was fully or partially "tooled up".

If it was transported a long/good distance away I'd be surprised if you recover it - but that said, I hope you do recover it intact.

Evan
07-16-2012, 09:26 PM
The list of suspects begins with people that knew it was there and what it is. Unfortunately that might include somebody that you thought was a friend.

sasquatch
07-16-2012, 10:02 PM
Back a bit Roscoe asked what the lathe weighed, and i,m wondering that also?

oldtiffie
07-16-2012, 10:42 PM
This would be a dead easy lift (hoist?) with a good operator and a flat-top truck with a good built-in crane and a good set of strops etc.

Some of those "on-board" cranes have a very good lifting capacity at quite long extensions/reaches.

Possibly a 20>30 minute job from go to whoa and if the crane was hired under a false name - or "borrowed?" - who would know and how would you find out?

And how much help would the neighbours be?

My guess is that it was targetted for a use or purpose or "to order" and probably not for scrap.

goose
07-16-2012, 10:54 PM
I have to disagree on the stealing for scrap part. I called on a pipe bender cheap on C/L. It was elect/hyd & someone broke in the guys garage took all the dies $3500+worth & left the bender. Probably a dopehead.

I disagree, it wasn't dopeheads, it wasn't kids.

As the OP said, most people don't understand machine tools, to them, to steal it would be make as much sense as stealing a bale of hay.

Someone who knew what it was, and I'm guessing, likely recognized the Powermatic pin-striping and knew exactly what it was. Then just logistics, so the same someone knew what to expect for hoisting and transport.

They saw it, they cased it out, they came back with a van and a plan, they (someone) wanted it.

wierdscience
07-16-2012, 11:07 PM
I gotta go with Meth-heads from personal experience.They took machine tool parts,bulldozer parts,most of a tractor and an antique corn sheller from me.Some of that stuff weighed 800lbs or more and sold it for junk.

The worst was the Sheller,it was probably 150 years old,big curved spoke flywheel and ornamentation survived all that time without a single broken part only to be sold for scrap:mad:

sasquatch
07-16-2012, 11:16 PM
There are some i guess you would call the Professional thieves that know how to load heavy items .

Common throughout any northern area to have , bulldozers , backhoes, log skidders etc stolen, have a neighbour who had a 1 year old Kubota tractor with loader stolen 3 years ago, gone forever. Common also to have tractor trailer loads of plywood etc just disappear!!

Some of this equipment i'm sure if not sold before it was stolen is "Parted Out" ,, good money selling big machine parts.

oldtiffie
07-16-2012, 11:41 PM
Finding stuff out in the open or likely sheds and houses is not too difficult with one of the remote planes etc. that can fly quite high and fast and have quite good cameras - "still" and/or "video" - "live" - and have a GPS fitted as used by developers, realtors and who ever else has a need for or can afford them.

They are almost as good as a personal "drone" and can be unpacked, launched, retrieved and put away in a matter of minutes and draw little public attention - especially if the operator/"pilot" is not (too) visible.

This pin-points it for a "ground check".

A flight or two can be quite informative and profitable at minimal cost.

Mark McGrath
07-17-2012, 06:50 AM
The list of suspects begins with people that knew it was there and what it is. Unfortunately that might include somebody that you thought was a friend.

Got to agree with that.
Also wonder if there is another side to the OP.

aboard_epsilon
07-17-2012, 07:48 AM
find out if any near by bushinesses have CCTV..and look at the recordings .

even from a couple of streets away ..there may be video of a truck with a lathe on it .

all the best..markj

Rosco-P
07-17-2012, 10:21 AM
29 posts later and Strider has not checked in. No updates, no further details. If it isn't already scrapped, it's either in a building or under cover of a tarp or something. Little chance a Predator drone or a NSA spy satellite is going to spot it.

strider
07-17-2012, 12:37 PM
I'm back. Couldn't do much with this yesterday as I still had to take care of business, still have to do the quotes, cut the orders and expedite the overdue stuff. Read the responses and want to thank you guys for the empathy and the suggestions THis AM I'm trying to find the original bill of sale so that I can pull the serial number. With multiple system and hardware crashes this past year, one requiring manual reentry of all the accounting info, some paper is not where it's supposed to be. That BOS is currently MIA.
Anyway, I'm beginning to think that this may not have been an opportunistic grab for scrap. First, the lathe was well back behind the house at the garage, could be seen from the street but you would really have to look. Second, in prep for the move up here to my shop, my buddy also moved the fork extensions for my fork lift as they were behind it and would need to be moved to back out the lift.He set them right by the lathe. Each one weighs a good 70-80 pounds. Scrappers would have snagged those at the same time, but they weren't taken.
I trust my buddy, have known him for years, He's worked for me a couple times in prior lives. But I'm not so sure about some of the people he associates with, so it has me wondering.
As for the lathe, it was the smaller version, had the racing stripe. Only weighed about 800 pounds, so determined thieves could take it with only minimal effort. The other issue is he was in the process of moving his oldest kid out of the house and to another town, resulting in long stints away from the house and a lot of truck activity so the neighbors weren't suspicious.
Contacted a couple scrap yards, have many more to go, will watch sale postings. Don't know of any user groups to give a heads up, this is a machining wasteland in a way. Don't hold out a lot of hope with the cops. Not high priority with them.
Might have to make a trip to Michigan. Uncle was an old German tool & die man, passed away a couple years ago. Had a shop and foundry in town and another shop on his home property. It's all still there. Might have to try to work a favored nephew deal with my aunt as there aren't too many deals around here.
strider

Rex
07-17-2012, 12:47 PM
I posted a lookout for it on the Logan list:

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/lathe-list/messages

flylo
07-17-2012, 02:12 PM
I'm near Kalamazoo Mi. I'll do anything I can to help. I don't know much about Logans but a small collet one was for sale near Holland. I can see if it still is & get details if you like. Let me know. Thanks! Eric

PS I think it's tucked away in some scumbags shop that knew you, your friend or your son. Hope he gets caught in it!:mad:

Evan
07-17-2012, 02:20 PM
The fact that it was moved without drawing attention doesn't surprise me at all. A good friend of mine is a snowmobile enthusiast. He had his snow machine on a 12 foot flat deck trailer which he parked dead tight up against the garage door and hitched to his truck in front of it. Come one morning the machine and trailer is gone, truck not moved an inch.

In this case everyone knows where it is but the police only go on the reservations for crimes like murder.

Rex
07-17-2012, 02:42 PM
I've actually been looking for one of those green/white Powermatics for some time now, to match my mill.
But I swear I didn't get yours!

tlfamm
07-17-2012, 04:15 PM
I've actually been looking for one of those green/white Powermatics for some time now, to match my mill.
But I swear I didn't get yours!


And I found you two in New England - but alas the freight must have been horrendous?

Rex
07-17-2012, 04:24 PM
Between the freight and trying to line up a local rigger, I never could get a deal done.
I'm just about over that anyway. I really like having a separate powerfeed shaft for the apron.

tlfamm
07-17-2012, 04:31 PM
Between the freight and trying to line up a local rigger, I never could get a deal done.
I'm just about over that anyway. I really like having a separate powerfeed shaft for the apron.


Myself also.

Were recent-vintage Powermatics ever so equipped?

Rex
07-17-2012, 04:40 PM
no sir, never saw a Logan with that 2nd feed shaft.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c196/rburkheimer/Machines/Bu9NmzQBWkKGrHqYOKnUEvyFrzUOLBMCmlNNM_12.jpg

krutch
07-20-2012, 01:57 PM
Years ago a Harley was stolen in local community. The owner had it in his garage and blocked by a car. The theives lifted the bike over the car and made off with the bike doing little damage to the car. Moral is: if they want your stuff, they'll get it.
Sorry for your loss. I'd keep an eye out for the lathe, as suggested. Hard to find if the perp keeps it to himself, but if he took it for $'s you may luck out and find it.
Local government has decided to build housing within a couple miles of my place which I know will be filled with the usual undesirable types. Have not had much thievery in my area but see that about to change when the 'housing' is finished. Area is rural and quiet for now. Soon to be overrun with curious eyes looking for items to steal. Happens everwhere these housing projects are built. This area was a good place to raise a family until the prison was built and chicago trash moved here.

oil mac
07-20-2012, 07:23 PM
Strider,
I am really sorry to hear of your lathe being taken, This scenario today is all too common & is every workshop owners worst nightmare, Where is this world going to? Only today in my local newspaper was the report of one of the churches in the town having the bell stolen from a part of the structure above the main entrance, This must have been a fairly "slick & quick operation" for the low life scumbags who carried this act off

This was in a heavily populated area, &nobody noticed !, I cannot see a heavy bell being removed by "human " power only

oldtiffie
07-20-2012, 08:54 PM
Letting too many - or any - into your property or shop no matter for what reason increases your chances of getting "done over".

Even the most trust-worthy amongst those who know of or have been into your property or shop may be inclined to gossip about your property and shop and what you have in it and what it/you can do and if it is "picked up" by others who further gossip etc. you may get "visited".

It may be worse if they "show off" what you've done for them or someone else as that is adding substance (proof?) to to gossip.

Same applies to those who are the "go to guys" and/or who are in remote or town areas.

Its all risk-prevention and analysis.

Bill736
07-20-2012, 10:55 PM
Sorry to hear about your missing lathe . I once had a 17 foot, 1500 lb. fiberglass boat mold stolen from in front of my shop. Several of the adjoining businesses saw the men load it onto a flatbed truck, but everyone thought they were supposed to be taking it. They weren't. I never saw the mold again, and there was no insurance on it.