CHICAGO (CN) – A businessman claims two men stole his Caterpillar scraper, a 38-ton, 44-foot-long behemoth, and cut it up and sold it as scrap metal.
Theft of copper and other less-valuable metals, including manhole covers, has become a nationwide epidemic since the financial crisis began in 2007. Plaintiff Forbes Adam claims four defendants went to extraordinary lengths for a quick buck.
He sued Nettleton Specialized Carriers, General Iron Industries, David Stavropolous and Michael Matysek in Cook County Court.
Adam owns a construction company that works in Illinois and Wisconsin. For his business, he bought a Caterpillar Scraper 627B. The earth-mover measures 44 ft. by 12 ft. and weighs 38 tons.
He stored the Caterpillar on a lot near U.S. Highway 20, in Elgin.
Adam claims that “on or about June 17, 2011, without the knowledge, consent, or permission of plaintiff Adam, David Stavropolous and Michael Matysek entered into an agreement and conspiracy to convert said Caterpillar Scrapper [sic] to their own use and benefit.
“[P]ursuant to the agreement and/or conspiracy by and between David Stavropolous and Michael Matysek, both jointly and/or severally, contracted and/or agreed with Nettleton to transport said Caterpillar Scrapper to General Iron in the City of Chicago, County of Cook, State of Illinois.”
He claims: “Defendant General Iron, with the full knowledge that the Caterpillar Scrapper was not owned by defendants Nettleton, Stavropolous, and/or Matysek, converted said Caterpillar Scrapper and cut it up for scrap, paying each defendant a sum or sums of money far below the value of said Caterpillar Scrapper.”
Adam claims that “the deprivation of said Caterpillar Scrapper has had a significant detrimental impact on the business of plaintiff Adam depriving him of the use and benefit of said Caterpillar Scrapper and depriving him of the opportunity to perform certain construction projects, jobs, employment, utilizing said Caterpillar Scrapper.”
And he claims that “the defendants, jointly and/or severely [sic], have consistently, over a long period of time, (the exact dates and times unknown to plaintiff Adam presently) engaged in a systematic course of conduct whereby they have converted illegally to their use, possession and benefit, various metal articles for the purpose of converting them into scrap.”
Adam claims he has lost $150,000 worth of work, in addition to the scraper itself, which he values at $65,000.
He seeks punitive damages for theft, lost profits, and racketeering.
He is represented by Victor Henderson with Henderson Adam.