As the sun set one day last week, sheriff’s deputies say a thief with a pickup truck entered a construction site on South Valley Pike and stole a $25,000 mini-excavator.

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said his office investigates theft sprees involving construction sites from time to time, but usually it involves smaller items, like drills and saws. It’s usually never a large item.

“It’s pretty unusual that they take something this massive,” Hutcheson said.

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Feb. 5 a white F-250 pickup entered the Stone Hill Construction site, located just south of Harrisonburg.

In less than 20 minutes, deputies say, the thief loaded the John Deere 50D mini-excavator onto a flatbed and hauled it away.

The crime was reported to the sheriff’s office on Monday.

Stone Hill Construction is building a new facility at the site for Binkley & Hurst, an agriculture equipment dealership chain.

The chain has only two locations in Virginia, both of which are in the Harrisonburg area.

One location, near Dayton on Rushville Road, focuses on heavy agriculture equipment and maintenance, while the other at 4703 S. Valley Pike focuses more on lawn equipment and rentals.

The new location, which will be right across the street from the South Valley Pike location, will combine the two locations.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 564-3800.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or Follow Pete on Twitter @pdelea_DNR

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