Archive for Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Building site thefts increase

Furniture, appliances taken from homes under construction

January 23, 2007


A string of construction site thefts in Lawrence has left home builders missing thousands of dollars in equipment and furniture.

"These are costs that become the cost of doing business," said Bobbie Flory, executive director of the Lawrence Home Builders Association. "The long-term costs do affect the consumer, the homeowner, unfortunately."

The thefts last week left builders with close to $30,000 in lost tools and furniture and damaged doors and windows.

The burglaries are the most recent in a series of reported home construction thefts in the last few months, with valued items such as copper wire and building supplies disappearing from work sites across the city.

The hardest hit last week were homes along Pennycress Drive in northwest Lawrence belonging to Highland Construction Inc. One model home had more than $15,000 worth of furniture and appliances stolen from it, police said.

Other homes in the subdivision lost appliances and even kitchen cabinets, which were unscrewed from walls.

This isn't the first time the company has been hit by thieves, construction manager Shannon Burnett said.

"Over the summer, they were robbing us blind on the houses that weren't finished yet, stealing all of the copper out of it," Burnett said.

Thieves also took tools and other equipment worth almost $3,000 from a site managed by Michael Nuffer Construction.

"It's sad that they're taking what somebody makes a living with," Nuffer said. "It's more of a setback than just losing tools."

All tools now will go home with the crews, Nuffer said. Time spent loading tools in and out at the beginning and end of every day can add hours to construction projects, he said.

Lawrence police Sgt. Paul Fellers said such thefts could be prevented by providing construction sites with plenty of lights, making sure tools are removed from the site or locked down, and installing appliances just before the new owners move in.

The recovery rate for heavy equipment stolen from construction sites is low, according to insurance statistics compiled by the National Equipment Register Inc. A 2005 report shows that since 1990, as little as 10 percent of stolen heavy equipment is ever recovered.

"Generally, individuals who take items from a construction site have an outlet for them," Fellers said.


doc1 11 years, 3 months ago

Pass everything on to the consumer. There ya go. Jack home prices up so high that nobody can pinpoint why they are so outrageous and then find a reason to charge them more after you insurance gives you a big fat check.

cutny 11 years, 3 months ago

If I was the victim of a theft, I would think that would alter my behavior in the future. To constantly leave tools, copper wire, and appliances available to theft is iditotic at best. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that some of the thefts are inside jobs.

angelsunwall 11 years, 3 months ago

Insurance may cover the costs of stolen appliances, furniture, cabinets and etc. but it never covers the costs of the labor they will incur having to fix the doors, windows, reinstall everything which in turn takes these people off jobs that they are currently working on just to go back to a job that had been previously finished all because someone out there decided that being a thief would benefit them. If you don't want the costs put on the consumer than help stop the thieves from ever getting the chance to cause damage that then creates a domino effect. Constuction companies, yes want to make money, but so does everyone else. What they do not want to do is have to increase costs due to a few individuals out to cause destruction that then effects everyone.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

Well the thieves are obviously construction employees because they are stealing construction materials. I would think that now the "cheap Labor" is coming back to haunt the construction industry. If you pay people cheap wages, they leave crap all over and controll nothing at the site.

ANd yes these is an illegal element in those that are so desperate to accept these jobs at lower prices, and KNOW they are getting screwed by the contractors. So they are "getting their raise" one way or the other.

Should be simple to trace, just bus some rf tags, and put them inside some doors windows and applicances, and track them.

The RF tags and tracking equipment would pay for itself in one $5000 theft.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and stop leaving crap at the constructin site that is valuable. Second stop passing the cost on to consumers for the failings of the contractor to secure their sites. That is BS there you low life GC's!! Take some responsibility for heaven's sake.

heysoos 11 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone here recognize that you are blaming the victims of a crime and not the perpetrators? Sure, they should be careful to not leave valuables in an easily accessed place, but WHAT ABOUT THE DAMN THIEVES???

That's like saying a rape victim is at fault because she was out walking in a shady 'hood.

Slav 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't want to further deter attention from the thieves, which are undisputably the issue, but in larger cities construction companies use transportable, chain-link fencing to hinder theft. They do it all the time in Denver. The fencing is just another one of the company's tools. Like any other job, you buy the tools necessary to get the job done. If theft is a problem you put up a fence.

Slav 11 years, 3 months ago

So don't blame illegal immigrants. Aren't there other suspects?

Slav 11 years, 3 months ago

"At any rate, it is almost a necessity for construction companies to have a security guard on site after hours."

If there's an existing problem with theft then yes, they may need a security guard. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

"All tools now will go home with the crews, Nuffer said. Time spent loading tools in and out at the beginning and end of every day can add hours to construction projects, he said."

Doing this transfers responsibility of the company's property from the company to the client. If you needed a nail gun you'd get a nail gun, so if you need a fence to deter theft then get a fence.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

"So don't blame illegal immigrants" There are NO illegal immigrants. ONLY LEGAL immigrants are immigrants. Illegal "immigrants" are Illegal ALiens" and should not be here.

WHen the makority of your work force is illegal aliens, and they are paid very low wages to "to work American's will not do for those wages", the give themselves a raise by "sticking it to the man", which is the boss that hires them. Then IF and that is a big IF, they get caught, they just change their name, and move on. Do not have to worry about doing time. Why not steal from your employer if you are an illegal alien employee.

As for those that employ illegal aliens like some of the contractors bitching about the theft, they are also coincidentally hire illegal aliens to do wht work. Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost, and those that profited from it, and now getting rippped off. How long will it be before these guys start whining about a problem them caused!

Slav 11 years, 3 months ago

""So don't blame illegal immigrants" There are NO illegal immigrants. ONLY LEGAL immigrants are immigrants. Illegal "immigrants" are Illegal ALiens" and should not be here."

So, wouldn't they just be aliens? Are there legal aliens? I think aliens refers to international tourists though, so alien would imply a visitor. Immigrant seems to give the impression of someone who isn't leaving, legally or illegally. I'm sticking with illegal immigrant.

Hoots 11 years, 3 months ago

These homes are locked up just like yours when you leave. So I guess next time someone kicks your door in or breaks your window and takes everything you own it's your fault for being an idiot and not the person who violated you.

Where do you people come from? I have seen cases when the thieves cut all the lines on an air conditioner, pulled wire that was already in the studs, or worse. They can do a huge amount of damage in addition to the theft. Any one here who has had an insurance claim should know that you aren't always made whole.

Make a claim to your insurance company and see what happens to your rates. I suppose next time someone is robbed at gunpoint you will all jump in about how the victim was stupid for leaving the house and carrying money. Give me a break.

Slav 11 years, 3 months ago

"These homes are locked up just like yours when you leave. So I guess next time someone kicks your door in or breaks your window and takes everything you own it's your fault for being an idiot and not the person who violated you."

I never said it was their fault. what I said was they need to come up with a better solution than --"All tools now will go home with the crews, Nuffer said. Time spent loading tools in and out at the beginning and end of every day can add hours to construction projects, he said"---

In my first post I eluded to the indisputable fault of the criminals, but to turn around and make their clients pay with additional man hours is also criminal. What they need is a fence.

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

I think they should surprise the thieves with some highly trained pit bulls. Try not going to the hospital when your face is left hanging by your chin.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

Or pin digital cameras. Easily hidden at sites.

Hoots 11 years, 3 months ago

You pay the price for shoplifting and every other kind of theft in life. It is a simple fact. All stores have to pass along the lost revenue. If you understood business you might get the concept. We all pay for thieves like it or not. Those lost moneys don't fall out of thin air back into peoples pockets. This isn't Never Neverland.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

Lock it up at night. This is a new concept I know but it would slow them down and maybe we could catch em. My buddy bart might be able to help, he is very soft spoken but part of the doberman family

cowboy 11 years, 3 months ago

The two clowns I have seen in the past two years caught with construction tools were not mexican , but white trash meth heads.

If you have ever done this work you would know you can't take it all home with you every night , theres too much stuff.

Its a big business right now to steal compressors , metals , and any tools left around and the larger sites probably do need security.

lunacydetector 11 years, 3 months ago

i wonder if any 'no growth by any means' environmentalists have been questioned?

after all, when the first phase of the 'road-to-nowhere' SLT was being built, some enviro-terrorists damaged the road construction equipment to delay its construction on more than one occasion.

there are a lot of earth nazis in this town with an obvious grudge to anything new. i'd think new housing would be despised by some of these people.

have a great day!

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't matter how much you lock something up, if people want in they will get in. Windows can be broken, locks torched, fences climbed. Personally if it kept happening after the 1st time I might be willing to pay someone to stay there with a shotgun on hand. KnowutImean?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

White Trash meth heads or illegal aliens, both are criminals and have NOTHING to lose by stealing, and EVERYTHING to gain.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago


You notice I wrote about my buddy, he is very good at not being heard untill its too late

pelliott 11 years, 3 months ago

Theft is just not a priority for olson, and it won't be unless he is made to make it so. He has sat on his butt for years about theft. "No use looking," is what his people always say. I went looking and found my stuff, luck and a good neighbor, but unless the force investigates and cares they won't find it or the culprits. They find the occassional thief a lot when the thief becomes involved in other crimes. if there is loot found, no effort seems to be made to reconnect little things back to the owner. This is not a slam on the police, they work hard and they risk their life. it is a slam on their leadership and his priorities. Theft is important. Thefts right now are only important to people, citizens, especially the uninsured. Olson indicates that to even try to pursue thefts is to somehow stop his company stopping or solving rapes and murders.
Olson should be ashamed, his alibi is poor, his intention and actions are for the grandstand, not the nickle and dime crime for him. If there was a city wide and state wide coordinated effort it woud make a big difference. But land of goshen the little fiefdoms would have to work to gather in efforts that don't pay off in big headlines or free drug money. It just would make life a lot better. A few thiefs steal from a lot of people. A thief left uncaught or unpursued is a rotten fester. We pay for it.

thelonious 11 years, 3 months ago

These latest burglaries were in empty, unsold homes that have been sitting empty since at least last June in subdivisions along north Monterey. In the one subdivision along the west side of Monterey, there are at least 15-20 new homes, none of which is occupied. Assuming that the builders have no security out there, it's no wonder that these kinds of things happen.

I blame this on the laxity of the builders - and of course the thieves. I'd doubt seriously that this was the work of any "earth nazis" - sounds more like common theivery to me, basically crimes of opportunity, a way to make a quick buck.

Maybe the builders will stop throwing up more empty homes that will sit around empty and unsold for a year or more.

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