An employee of the construction firm Heitkamp discovered the theft at 6:30 am on Friday when he got to work to find his piece of earth moving equipment - a brand-new, bright yellow Caterpillar Type 330 DLN - had vanished, police said. Several other excavators being used at the construction site along the Emscher Canal were still there.
The thief could not have stolen the huge machine without special equipment, including a flat-bed truck, police spokesman Guido Hesse told The Local.
"There are some that are specially designed for the extremely large excavators," Hesse said, adding that police are completely in the dark about who could have taken the equipment.
Witnesses are asked to contact the Gelsenkirchen police.