Town of Stettler’s stolen backhoe recovered, will be traded in for new one

CASE Backhoe/file photo
Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Stettler’s stolen backhoe was recovered by police before the insurance settlement was final, as councillors heard the piece of equipment has been returned to the municipality.

Councillors heard a report from Director of Operations Melissa Robbins at their regular council meeting April 18 regarding a backhoe that was stolen from the Town of Stettler last year, which was subsequently recovered by police.

“(Last year) the town’s CASE backhoe was stolen from the shop yard,” stated Robbins’ memo to council. “Insurance values the unit at $140,786 and has instructed us to proceed with replacement of the unit. In the 10-year capital budget, administration planned to replace this backhoe in 2023 for $250,000.

“RCMP notified administration that the stolen unit had been recovered. The town’s insurer has determined that since the unit was recovered without finalizing the new purchase, the town gets the original unit back (with all repairs completed) and can determine whether we dispose of the recovered unit and proceed with purchase of the new unit at our discretion.

The recovered unit was returned to the town in February.”

Robbins explained to councillors the town was already in the process of buying a new backhoe, which was actually scheduled for this year anyway. She noted trading the recovered unit in on a new backhoe seemed like the best approach.

“Administration recommends trade-in of the unit to avoid any potential consequences associated with selling a unit that has been previously stolen as it was not entirely in our possession and are unable to know how the unit was handled,” stated Robbins’ memo.

She added during discussion the trade-in value was almost what the town could expect from a private sale.

“Rocky Mountain Equipment is offering $120,000 trade-in for the recovered unit,” stated the memo. “If private sale is considered, we may be able to get slightly more than that for the unit.”

During discussion Robbins stated police recovered the stolen backhoe in Edmonton. She reported the unit still appeared very similar to the way it looked in Stettler. While it had different tires on it the unit otherwise appeared the same.

It was noted, however, when recovered it had minor front-end damage. Last summer when Robbins reported to councillors the backhoe’s theft, she predicted it would have front end damage due to the method used to steal the vehicle.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to trade in the recovered backhoe to Rocky Mountain Equipment for $120,000, applied towards the purchase of the new unit for $253,988 excluding tax, funding the additional unexpected amount of $20,786, for a total budget impact of $133,988 funded through the town’s 2023 capital budget.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.