Northshore home builder says construction site thefts on the rise

Luna Ruth

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – There’s been a spike in construction site thefts on the Northshore according to a home builder and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s always been around but it’s been extreme, it’s gotten to the point where it’s out of control,” Andy Northcutt with DSLD Homes said.

Northcutt says there are thefts upwards of $50,000 at a time. Entire roofing or siding packages, appliances, lumber, doors and windows, all stolen after they’re delivered to sites.

“They resell it, they use it on their own projects at home, lately, we found the last guy was using in one of his houses he was getting ready to flip locally,” Northcutt said.

In that instance, a man stole $40,000 worth of supplies from the Ponchatoula area, which Northcutt and his team were able to track down, recover and deliver a suspect to Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Deputies.

Tuesday in Covington, they had to recover $8,000 in cabinets. Deputies arrested Jessie Green, 38.

“With the help of advanced technology, good homeowners and neighbors in the neighborhood we build in, as well as help from law enforcement, we’re able to catch people more and more often and we are going to pursue it every time,” Northcutt said.

It’s that important but not just because of the rising costs of construction materials.

Northcutt says thieves might think the losses just disappear in a big company’s budget, but the truth is, it impacts more people than they could imagine.

“It will impact the builder, the supervisor on scene, it’s also going to impact the trades,” Northcutt said. “The trades show up to do the job and the materials aren’t there. They have what we call a ‘dry run’. They lost money in fuel time labor and they have to find a way to figure out a way to catch back up when we replace the materials which doubles our cost at that point.”

That’s why Northcutt says home builders are getting creative and fighting back against this growing problem.

“Enough is enough,” Northcutt said. “If you come to the Northshore and steal from one of our local builders, we are going to pursue it, we’re going to help everybody out whether its competition or a fellow builder, we’re going to help find out who did it and help try and recover everything we can.”

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office is stressing the importance of reporting incidents like this, saying they’ve heard of a lot of thefts from developments that haven’t been reported.

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