All summer long paving contractors have been fighting the sharply rising cost of hot mix asphalt...and now contractors who plow snow and who salt pavement have to worry about that de-icing material for the winter. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, thieves in Aurora made off with $32,000 worth of road salt (120 tons) over the last few weeks. The salt belonged to an Elgin, IL company, Tovar Snow Professionals, that plows and salts parking lots throughout the winter. "We've had somebody take a bag of salt from us here and there, but nothing of this magnitude," said Eric Hartmann, Tovar vice president. "It's obviously happening because of the salt shortage this year." Police and the contractor estimate it would take an estimated six semi trucks and heavy equipment to load. Police have ruled out a "rogue pretzelmaker" or a bartender planning "an out-of-control margarita party," according to the article, but have not ruled out an inside job.