Thieves swiping lumber from construction sites

Anyone who has done any DIY projects over the past several months knows the price of lumber has gone through the roof.  Now, police report thieves are swiping lumber from new home construction sites.

"It doesn't surprise me. It is all very valuable at this point," said Dan Cox with Peach State Lumber.

Lumber is scarce. Those who can find any are paying a whole lot more than you were a year ago. Cox said folks should blame it on COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, sawmills had to shut down and are still trying to catch up.

"Coming out of COVID the mills didn't have enough labor, not enough logs to make material. Once they get it, it takes six to eight months to produce the lumber," said Cox.

Of course with people stuck at home for a year, many started doing projects around the house, and demand went up.

"Cabinets, millwork, bookcases, decks, whatever the wife wanted," said Cox.

The cost of freight and shipping is also up, so all of a sudden, wood is enticing to thieves.

"With the increase in lumber prices, people are coming out and stealing lumber from construction sites," said Cobb County Police Officer Shenise Barner.

Cobb County police said they've had several reports of thefts from new home construction sites.

"They're hauling a decent amount of lumber. They'll come out there in different trucks and trailers and load everything and take it with them," said Officer Barner.

Police are warning contractors and others to secure whatever they can, don't leave wood sitting out, make sure someone is there when a delivery comes in, and invest in cameras if possible. Police also said builders should make sure others living in the neighborhood keep an eye out for thefts.

Cox said he expects prices to start dropping by the end of the summer.  Hopefully, lumber won't be quite as tempting to thieves at that point.

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