Family stumped by stump grinder theft

Family stumped by stump grinder theft »Play Video

TACOMA, Wash. -- Three generations of Canzlers have climbed, downed and topped trees, but now burglars are cutting into the profits of the Tacoma family's tree business.

"I was expecting a big bonus and heck that went out the window," said Tony Canzler.

Earlier this month, thieves drove into the Canzler Tree Service's fenced equipment yard and stole the crown jewel of their trade, a new $55,000 stump grinder and trailer.

That's a year's salary for Tony Canzler, whose dad started the business 48 years ago, grinding up stumps at Fort Lewis by outbidding the government.

"To me, $55,000 is a lot of money. We're not a corporation. It's a big hit on us," Tony said.

Richard Canzler paid cash for the stump grinder and regrets not insuring it.

"What can you do, the thing is probably back in Montana somewhere, if it's in one piece," he said.

The business has another, older monster machine that chews up stumps, but not in 20 minutes a pop like the new stump grinder. And the old equipment requires repairs with nearly every use. The family says they'll have to buy a new one.

Police say if the burglars need replacement parts for the stolen stump grinder, they'll have to turn in the serial number which could reveal the machine isn't theirs.

This is the family's third burglary since 2012, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Department records. Three months ago someone cut out a section of the fence, broke into a large container and stole thousands of dollars worth of saws, ropes, and tree climbing and cutting equipment.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said someone is likely targeting Canzler's equipment for their own use. He said the items are too unique to unload on Craigslist. The family is offering a $5,000 reward for the machine's return. Crimestoppers will also now offer a reward. Call them at 800-222-TIPS.