As housing construction grows so do thefts



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - With home construction on the rise in central Florida, so are thefts, according to those in the construction business.

At one Sanford townhome community, someone walked away with 220 bars of steel early this week.

The construction site has been hit six other times since October, with losses totaling more than $15,000.

Employees at Lennar Homes told WFTV's Jeff Deal that it's happening everywhere.

Builders said in one community, thieves walked in an stole $45,000 worth of appliances. They said thieves are even stealing sliding glass doors right off the tracks.

The National Home Builders Association said it's a $1 billion-a-year problem.

They said equipment, tools and metal that can easily be sold as scrap are often targets.

Lennar's regional president said it's something they are working to prevent.

"It's always something. Where there's opportunity, there's always someone to exploit that," said Mark Methany of Lennar Homes.

Neighbors in a Lennar community in south Orange County said they've seen people taking metal.

Ricardo Francis said he's heard of the metal thefts and worries it will ultimately cost homebuyers more.

"The homebuyer will have to pay for it because the construction company's not really going to take a loss," said Francis.

Sanford police said they have patrolled the area and that they are checking with metal dealers.

They said that the problem is that there's not much, if any, security at some of the construction sites, and they are often in isolated areas.