A Los Angeles couple suspected of selling $5 million worth of stolen construction equipment were indicted Thursday, authorities said.
Paul Werner Tobeler, 39, and Frances Tobeler, 43, who operated several equipment rental companies in Los Angeles, were charged with conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles and money laundering.
The indictments are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the FBI and the California Highway Patrol.
During the investigation, 64 pieces of construction equipment that had been stolen in Southern California were recovered in seven states.
Paul Tobeler is suspected of using numerous businesses to store stolen construction equipment such as front loaders, backhoes and skip loaders. Tobeler and his wife are suspected of altering product identification numbers and marketing the equipment through out-of-state auction houses.
The money was allegedly laundered through various businesses controlled by the Tobelers.
The theft of heavy equipment is an increasing problem in California, authorities said. Last year, 534 pieces of equipment, worth about $32 million, were reported stolen to the CHP.