Home builders noticing an increase in vandalism, burglary

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - Home builders in East Texas are battling more than just the heat. The past few weeks, they've noticed an increase of construction site burglary. 

Friday afternoon, home builder Floyd Williford hooked up his tractor and took it home, instead of leaving it at his site. He's not taking any chances. 

"A lot of construction sites have been getting vandalized so we put up some cameras outside of my father-in-law's house to hopefully deter the break-ins," said Colton Rudd, President of Rudd Alarms.

Williford's home hasn't been hit, but several around his have. 

"You've got a schedule set up and you're expecting stuff to get done at a certain timeline and then all this stuff gets stolen and so you have to take a step back," said Rudd.

He said in most cases, builders are out the money because the deductibles on the builders risk insurance cost more than the stolen items. 

Tyler Police said they're not having any issues with people stealing large equipment such as bulldozers, but they have seen reports of people taking kitchen appliances such as stoves, sinks and refrigerators from new homes. 

"We just think it's probably a sub, somebody that has been there, watching and working. Seeing everyday happenings and taking things when they show up later at night," said Wes Dobbs, owner of Floors and Finishes. 

Dobbs had about 500 square feet of wood flooring stolen from a property in the Oak Hollow area, costing him a couple thousand dollars. His installer had a saw stolen too. 

"It's really unfortunate because a lot of these guys can't work and can't do what they need to do to provide for their families, they can't do their jobs without their tools. They're relying on their tools and their material," said Brandon Pahler, owner of Front Porch Homes. 

It's not only a hassle, but it's also a crime and East Texas contractors said it needs to stop.

Pahler said he tries to make good relationships with neighbors around the area of his sites who can monitor any suspicious activity he may not see.

If caught, burglary of habitation is generally a second degree felony. That carries a punishment range of two to twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. 

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