Howard County Police have recovered about 15,000 stolen tools worth up to $5 million total, county officials announced Thursday.

In “one of the largest and most expansive theft cases in the region in recent years,” police said they believe the tools were stolen from stores, vehicles, businesses, homes and construction sites in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania and mostly stored in Howard County while being resold.

The investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed yet, police said.

Detectives began the investigation in late January, after a tracking device in a stolen tool led police to a storage unit in Elkridge. Since then, police have conducted searches on 12 storage units, 11 of which were in Howard County.

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Police have identified 80 victims in the theft and said there could be “thousands” more. Anyone who thinks they may be a victim in this theft can fill out an online stolen tool recovery form.

Howard County Police Chief Gregory Der said the case sends a clear message that officials won’t tolerate “criminal enterprises” operating in Howard County.

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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