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Stolen trailer found, returned to Sterling company

Two arrested on burglary and drug charges in DeKalb County

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:59 p.m. CST
(Photo submitted)
The Engel Electric logo on this trailer that was reported stolen last week in Winnebago County was partially covered with white spray paint. The paint was found in the trailer after a man and woman from Burlington in a car hauling the trailer were arrested Monday morning in DeKalb County. The trailer, belonging to the Sterling company, was stolen from a construction site in Rockford.
(Photo submitted)
A transformer in the back of the trailer was damaged.
Michael Gottal
Tiffany Huggins

STERLING – A trailer owned by a Sterling electrical company, and reported missing last week, was recovered when a sheriff’s deputy pulled a car driving the trailer over early Monday morning in DeKalb County.

The trailer, owned by Engel Electric Company, was reported missing from a Rockford construction site late last week, said Kevin McGinn, the company’s president.

Sgt. Brad Carls, with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, said that the deputy learned during a routine registration check that the trailer had been reported as stolen in Winnebago County.

Carl’s said the car’s driver, Michael Gottal, and a passenger, Tiffany Huggins, were arrested after a search of the vehicle uncovered a substance police suspect was crack cocaine, as well as burglary tools.

McGinn said its Engel Electric logo had been painted over with some white spray paint.

“The paint they used was actually stored in the trailer,” he said. “As you can see (from a photo McGinn provided), not a very good job, thankfully.”

About $5,000 worth of wire and equipment that was inside the trailer has been returned to Engel Electric.

It’s not the first time someone has stolen equipment from one of its construction sites, McGinn said, but it was a rather unique attempt.

“We’ve never had anybody be brazen enough to hook up and steal an entire trailer before,” he said.

Gottal, 43, of Burlington, has been charged with two counts of theft over $500, burglary, possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools, driving with a suspended license, and possession of a stolen license plate.

Huggins, 33, also of Burlington, has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a hypodermic needle.

Gottal and Huggins were held Tuesday in DeKalb County Jail on $75,000 and $20,000 bonds, respectively.

“The frustrating part of all this is why people think stealing is any way of getting ahead,” McGinn said. “This event has consumed numerous hours for our company.”

McGinn said the trailer, though pretty beat up, is now back on the job.

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