Construction Site Crime Spree - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/7/04

Construction Site Crime Spree

"Help us!," said Developer Mike Thoma. He's at his wits end. The victim of a crime spree that's lasted three weeks. "The theft in this town is getting tremendous in the building industry," he said.

Large scale burglaries and vandalism in one of Lubbock's newest developments. 20 homes in 21 days. Lumber, shingles, tools, appliances. Total estimated value, over $100,000. A brazen, calculated group of thieves, so confident, when they commit crimes they actually relax. "They stopped and had a Coke out of our refrigerator while they were trying to steal it," he said.

The model home? Ransacked. From the comforter to the kitchen table. "And they took the door off the hinges, laid it around the corner, and that's where they left the house with all the furniture," said Builder David Sewell.

As for evidence? "No fingerprints. Everything was dusted yesterday, and they found no fingerprints," said Sewell.

Especially hit hard, everyday construction workers like Jeff Runnels. "I had about $3,000 worth of tools," he said. And none of them, insured. "It takes money out of my pocket," he said.

According to developers, police think it's somebody on the inside, aware of what to hit and when. "We don't know how else to stop it except to offer a reward," said Thoma. $5,000 to the person who helps stop the thieves before the builders have a chance to do it themselves. "What would you do if you caught them yourself?," Sewell was asked. "They better hope there's not a nail gun around," he laughed.

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