EAST PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Two central Illinois men are facing charges after authorities say they stole more than $1 million in equipment from Caterpillar Inc.
John R. Peters, 50, of East Peoria, and 35-year-old Eliot J. Wells, of Peoria, are each being held on $500,000 bond in the Tazewell County Jail. Both have ties to the Peoria-based heavy equipment maker. Peters used to work for Caterpillar, while Wells is a current employee.
Court document show the stolen machinery was being sold on eBay.
It wasn't clear if the two men had retained attorneys. Peters' phone rang unanswered Tuesday. Meanwhile, Wells' number wasn't listed.
Caterpillar officials said in a statement that they're working with authorities as part of the investigation into the thefts.
Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn says it's unclear what caused the blast and fire yesterday morning in an unattached paint building. That building was heavily damaged. Saline County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tracy Felty says it happened near the village of Carrier Mills.
Dunn says an unidentified employee sustained burns and was taken to a St. Louis-area hospital. His medical status was not immediately known.
The Carrier Mills site and a related site in nearby Norris City together employ about 70 people. It's not clear how many workers were at the Carrier Mills location when the explosion happened.
Carrier Mills is about 140 miles southeast of St. Louis.