Burglars Strike Before Anyone Goes Home
Posted April 29, 1998
APEX — Even a brand-new, unoccupied house is someone's home, but until the construction is finished, it could also be a thief's best place to steal. Contractors bring in sinks, appliances and cabinets, then crooks take them out.
The robberies are occurring all around the Triangle. In one subdivision now under construction in Apex, about $500 worth of lumber was stolen last week. Builders say major appliances are disappearing at a rapid rate, and they must absorb the costs, while Apex police say in many cases, thieves hit the sites before appliances are installed.
And it's not just residential sites that are being hit. A Comfort Inn under construction on Highway 55 lost three microwaves and two freezers last week.
Building supervisors say sometimes such thefts are "inside jobs", but whether it's a series of isolated incidents or a new crime spree, builder Matt Smith says his colleagues are taking precautions.
Lynn Clawson distributes some of the appliances that have been stolen. She says as many as 23 appliances were reported stolen in the Triangle and surrounding areas in just the past three weeks.
Some of the builders have insurance that helps with the losses, but if the practice continues and spreads, those insurance companies will inevitably increase their rates.
That cost surely be passed on to homeowners.
The Home Builders Association is urging anyone who lives near housing construction sites to report to police any suspicious activity they see