Medford man charged in machinery theft ring - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Medford man charged in machinery theft ring

MEDFORD (WAOW) – A 32-year-old Medford man has been charged with multiple felonies after several pieces of stolen heavy equipment, including a 2014 Caterpillar skid steer worth $70,000, were found in his rural barn.

The theft ring was uncovered after a GPS system on the Caterpillar stolen in southwest Wisconsin pinpointed it at the Taylor County property, a criminal complaint said.

Edward Peterson was charged Tuesday with eight felony counts of being party to receiving stolen property and six other misdemeanors. He is to return to court July 1, according to online Taylor County court records.

Peterson is the second man charged in the theft of equipment from farms and construction sites in several southern and western counties.

Christopher Steig, 25, of Delavan was charged two weeks ago with five felony counts of being party to receiving stolen property and two misdemeanor counts of being party to receiving stolen property.

Among the equipment reported stolen was a 16-foot hydraulic dump trailer, a Case 430 skid steer, a jackhammer, a 10-foot snow plow skid steer and an electric generator, the complaint said.

Steig told investigators that he stole the equipment for Peterson and was paid for some of it, the newest complaint said.

“”Chris explained that Edward had given him a verbal list of items that he wanted,” the complaint said. “Edward had told Chris that he didn't want to know anything about the items, didn't want to know how he got them, where they came from, etc. Edward told Chris that he would pay him cash for any items that he was able to get.”

Steig told investigators that he stole the Caterpillar skid steer from a Kwik Trip construction site in Boscobel just before Memorial Day weekend, the complaint said.

Chris said he had driven by the work site at the Kwik Trip earlier that evening and saw it sitting out in the open so he decided to steal it,” the complaint said.

Steig said he told Peterson he wanted $10,000 for the machine and Peterson helped him unload it from a trailer, the complaint said.

Steig told investigators he had “financial issues and needed the easy money,” the complaint said.

After police found the items in Peterson's barn, he told investigators that bought most of them from Steig and believed Steig had obtained them on Craigslist or he got them from people he knew, the complaint said.

The barn owner said he had no idea how the new Caterpillar got into his barn or who put it there, the complaint said.

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