As the weather gets colder, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office is advising snowplow owners to be careful about where they park their plows.
Police have received seven reports of snowplow or snowplow-pump thefts across the county since Dec. 5, said Cpl. Jonathan Light, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.
Of the seven reports, two were for thefts of snowplow blades, which connect to the front of a truck or SUV. The other five were for hydraulic pumps, Light said.
Pumps are part of the hydraulic unit, which uses a pump, a motor and a valve to run the plow, said John Packer, assistant manager of The Hitch Man Inc., a company in Taneytown that sells snowplows.
Hydraulic units typically cost $1,000 to $1,500, while the whole unit, including the plow blades, would cost about $4,000 to $5,000, Packer said.
"There are a lot of antitheft devices that are available," he said.
Newer plow models often require the truck to be on when disconnecting the blades or pumps, but with older and some brand models, people can easily disconnect the plow without turning on a truck, Packer said.
This winter has seen a steep rise in thefts, Light said.
"Unfortunately, there is a problem with snowplow thefts in general," Light said. "And certainly as we see a change in temperature, we see an increase in thefts of these items."
A majority of the thefts occurred in the southern part of the county, he said.
Snowplow owners should make sure to park and secure their plows in well-lit areas, and be aware of where they park, according to a news release.
"Do not be a victim, believing that it will not happen to you. Anyone can become a victim," a Sheriff's Office news release said.
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