December 19, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville construction site thefts on the rise

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Police said thefts of building materials and tools from homes under construction are on the rise, but they don’t appear to be related.

“This is happening weekly,” police Capt. Marti Garrow said. “It’s picking up again because construction is picking up, too.”

Recent police reports showed a number of incidents within a two-week period, but the manner in which the thefts occurred did not have any obvious similarities for police to conclude they were the work of the same parties, Garrow said.

“They bounce around to different housing developments,” Garrow said. “Our night shift tries to check on those areas, but they’re finding there’s no set pattern.”

Thefts reported during the weeks of April 14 and 21 included one on Songbird Lane behind the Center Ridge Health Campus near the western city limits where power saws and roofing equipment valued at $4,375 were stolen.

Others saw the theft of a mower deck and lift forks valued at $10,000 from a Bliss Parkway address near the Ohio Turnpike and state Route 10, items worth $2,500 from a Montgomery Drive home site and vinyl siding valued at $3,000 from a house being built on Kingsbury Drive near the Pioneer Ridge Del Webb development.

“Unfortunately this has become rather common,” Garrow said. “It’s happening a lot now that we’re through the winter.”

Police have inventoried stolen materials, with copper piping, fixtures and water tanks among oft-reported missing items.

“We’re not sure what they’re doing with it, but they could be selling it somewhere,” he said.

Compounding the problem is the fact that some homes in the process of being built are secured when workers are away, while others are not, Garrow said.

“This really happens year-round,” Garrow said. “We have four to five really big developments with a lot of houses.”

More than 2,000 homes are in the Meadow Lakes subdivision off Center Ridge Road and the Avalon Estates development off Case Road.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.