Eventually, you will get caught, odds dictate. The local engineer for Cumulus Broadcasting in Cincinnati found this out earlier in the week. Of course, innocent until proven guilty, so I won’t assume anything.
Broadcast engineering, especially radio engineering is a small field. Sadly, when something like this happens it makes all radio engineers look bad and there is no good reason or excuse for it.
I have seen several cases where an engineer or technical person has taken advantage of their position to pilfer from a radio station. These vary from cashing in on dud tubes from a transmitter site to taking high-value equipment and selling it on eBay. I recall a recent instance of backup transmitter and STL systems being sold. I cannot imagine what these people are thinking. A transmitter, STL system, console, or even a dud tube has a serial number and is traceable. Anything with a serial number is likely part of a station inventory list and or will have some record of manufacture and sale.
There are instances when old equipment is getting thrown out. In that situation, I always get permission before removing anything, even from the dumpster.
I have made several trips to the scrap yard with old transmitter chassis, wire or leftovers from transmitter installations. In those circumstances, I always get a receipt and write the source of the scrap on the back. This way, a record is kept and if there are any questions, I can refer to it.
Generally speaking, it is better to be overly cautious.