NEWFIELD, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of a vehicle, company credit card and more than $9,000 worth of tools and equipment Saturday morning from Midstate Basement Authorities, a contractor based in Newfield.

Initially, business owner Eric Leach said, he went several hours unaware that the truck was missing until he started seeing fraudulent charges on his company credit card. The tools and credit card were both inside the vehicle when it was stolen.

“I noticed that one of the trucks was missing, but I figured our production manager or our foreman had talked about something and was using it so never really thought anything bad was happening,” he said. “I started getting emails from my company credit card about 9 p.m. that night.”

Leach contacted law enforcement and turned to social media to get the word out about the theft. He also did a bit of his own digging by going to the grocery store where his card was used, he said.

“The unfortunate part was that the law enforcement agency — their investigation department only works Monday through Friday, so essentially there really wasn’t anything as far as investigating that could’ve been done until Monday,” he said. “I was a little frustrated with that so I figured I would do what I can to see if I could figure out what’s going on.” 

Following the initial discovery of the stolen vehicle, Leach posted a plea to social media followers, asking for their help to locate his missing truck. The post gained traction quickly, reaching more than 800 shares within less than a day. 

The truck, which is now back in the possession of Midstate Basement Authorities, had minimal damage outside of a broken driver’s side lock, Leach said. The most significant hit for the company is its inability to complete scheduled projects while an investigation is underway. 

“It’s more of a time-waster for us,” Leach said. “Fortunately, it sounds like I should be reimbursed the majority of the amount for the stolen tools which is great and I’m thankful for that, but it definitely will have a negative impact on us. And really my biggest concern at this point is how we may be considered a target because at this point, the ease at which he was able to do this is kind of alarming and could potentially send a message to other criminals that hey Midstate is an easy target.”

Despite initial frustration with the availability of law enforcement, the business owner has no ill-will towards officers and investigators. 

“I really appreciate the assistance I’ve gotten from them,” he said.

Senior Inv. Jody Coombs confirmed Tuesday that the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, but because it is an ongoing investigation, did not comment further.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com