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Construction site theft on the rise

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Homebuilders and police say theft of construction supplies on job sites is becoming a bigger problem in our area. In the end, it's home buyers who wind up footing the bill. Construction sites are loaded with supplies like copper, lumber and tools, which are all expensive and can all be resold. Theft of these supplies can set builders back weeks and cost thousands of dollars. Last year law enforcement officials in Brunswick County reported 40 four incidents of construction site theft. So far in 2008 there have already been 24 incidents in that area. Law enforcement officials say the problem is common in areas that are growing as fast as ours. President of Cape Fear Homebuilders Jeff Stokley says damage done by thieves is made up for in the home's price. Stokley said, "It's very difficult when you have materials drawn off the site, then you get it ready to be shown and your appliances are stole, that's another couple thousand dollars, and the first thing you know, you're four or five thousand dollars cost added back into the price of the home." In 2005 the General Assembly passed a bill making theft of supplies worth more than three hundred dollars a felony. Law enforcement officials say thieves can re-sell the supplies for half the price, sometimes even to other builders and are stepping up their efforts to crack down on the thefts. Stokley said other builders who knowingly buy from thieves are just as guilty as the thieves themselves.

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