DALLAS – While lumber prices have fallen from historic highs in May, lumber continues to be a new favorite for thieves.
With the demand for building materials high, home builders in North Texas are struggling to protect their sites.
Lumber thefts add to homebuilders’ struggle to try to keep housing costs down while dealing with everything from building permit delays to staff shortages.
Joshua Correa is the owner of Divino Homes. He immediately stepped up his cameras after a robbery at his home site in West Dallas early Friday morning, but he was targeted again that night.
“And of course around midnight or 12:35 pm we had flights,” he said. “and we saw the individual come in and cut the camera wire immediately.”
Then it happened a third time on Saturday after Correa waited five hours for Dallas police to show up in the first two incidents.
“I waited until around 11:00 am. That’s when I left and called them back,” he recalls. “I said. ‘Hey, nobody came.’ And they said, ‘We still have your call.’ “
Correa went to lunch.
“So I received an alert indicating that there was activity on the site thanks to our cameras,” he said. “And by the time I came back, of course, he had already hit us again.”
This time the thief must have thought the camera was still off. He had the audacity to haul all the lumber he could carry and put it in his car – and we mean his car.
A nearby neighbor captured Ring video of the red four-door sedan with a stash of firewood sticking out.
The Dallas Police Department finally called to take Correa’s report 19 hours after his initial call.
“I was frustrated,” he said. “I didn’t get a call until 1:00 am Sunday morning. That’s when the police department said we could withdraw the police report.”
The pandemic pushed lumber prices to record highs in May, which are just starting to decline. But some experts predict another spike as builders who suspend projects return to the market.
Parker and Tarrant County have both reported an increase in timber thefts
Last month. Parker County has arrested four people involved in a series of thefts there.
Not only is the cost of lumber high, it can also add costly delays. It’s hard to know which pieces of wood are missing until a framer can’t find the wood they need.
For Correa, it’s just one more frustration trying to keep his business and projects on schedule.
“We’ll keep framing until the guys need something,” he said. “They’ll need something, but we don’t know what it is yet.”
The Dallas Police Department said it was actively working on leads in the case. But to protect the investigation, she had no suspicious information to release at this time.
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