Metro East business says it lost more than $150,000 to vehicle parts theft

Pontoon Beach, Illinois – A Pontoon Beach, Illinois business owner said he has never seen a theft problem like this in his 20 years in business.

Corey Ketrow, of K & B Truck Repair, said his business had been hit repeatedly over the past few years, with another attack by thieves on Friday night. Five trucks were targeted by a suspect who cut out catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters even though he saw himself on camera.

“He took the kit, put on the knee pads, and turned around and saw a tracking camera that we had installed, saw it, and walked out of view, and that’s all we know about him,” Catlow said.

According to Cattro, the suspect continued cutting parts. “…every truck is lined up before the sun comes up.”

He estimated tens of thousands of dollars in damage in less than an hour, which could have netted the suspect a small return.

Ketrow estimates this is the fifth time he’s been hit in recent times, with total damages of more than $150,000.

Insurance covered some of the cost, but Cattro worried they would risk losing their insurance if they got hit too many times.

They’ve added lighting and cameras, but Ketrow said thieves have even gone through security fences in the past.

“They’ve done a great job at that,” Catlow said.

He had hoped there would be a drop in thefts following police action at a scrap yard in East Alton in October.

Now, he worries thieves are just starting to sell stolen property online.

“We live in this lawless society,” Catlow said. “We have to do right. Something has to be done.”

He said he had good news from Pontoon Beach police, who had captured a suspect on commercial surveillance video.

“At least we got that, and that’s what got him arrested,” he said.

A suspect is now awaiting possible charges from the Madison County Attorney’s Office. Meanwhile, K&B examines next steps for continuing operations.

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