A new crime wave is spreading across Canada. Heavy construction equipment, ranging from small bulldozers to excavators costing over US$600,000, are being stolen in record numbers.

According to a report in The Ottawa Citizen, the equipment often ends up in East Asia or South America.

A US$500,000 bulldozer stolen from Orangeville, north of Toronto in Canada, recently appeared at the Three Gorges dam project in China. Chinese authorities had no idea they were buying stolen goods and the bulldozer has yet to be returned to Orangeville.

About 5000 pieces of heavy equipment were stolen across Canada last year, and the number has grown annually by 10%.

The proportion of machines that are eventually recovered has plummeted to 50%.