Burglars targeting construction sites
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 14, 2004 -- Investigators warn county residents as well as building contractors and construction crews to secure and take with them all tools and equipment at the end of the day or when not in use.

A rash of building burglaries occurring within the last month all over the county, predominantly at construction sites where new homes are being built, is the impetus behind the caution advisory by Hopkins County sheriff's investigators.

"All four investigators are currently working these cases," HCSO Chief Investigator Andy Chester said Tuesday morning. "We have at least eight active cases right now. All have occurred within the last month. This is countywide, not just any certain area of the county."

Investigators are warning builders to make the extra effort to pack up their tools, including generators and welding equipment, and take them with them when they leave in order to avoid becoming a victim to these burglars.

"We know it may be difficult and a pain, but pack up your tools and take them with you," Chester said. "We are saying this to protect them. Our officers are out patrolling as much as they can, but we just can't be everywhere all the time. We just do not have enough officers to patrol everywhere. So please take your tools with you when you leave houses under construction. Don't leave tools unsecured at night or when you leave."

Included among the burglaries reported to officers was theft of $1,000 worth of tools from a State Highway 19 north garage over the weekend. On Wednesday morning, deputies investigated a building burglary on County Road 1196 in which the part of a wall of a storage building had been pried off, according to sheriff's reports. On Tuesday, two air ratchets, three air drills, two air cut off tools, a grinder and three hammers were reported stolen from a County Road 3385 shop. A wire welder, battery charger and generator were also stolen from the yard. Thefts were also reported on FM 1567 in Como and on County Road 4586 one week ago.

"We have no leads right now, so we are urging people to protect their property and to please call us if they have any information, observe unusual activity or suspicious activity near construction sights and buildings, or vehicles driving by slowly," Chester said. "We're asking that they try to get vehicle and any other information we might be able to use to try to solve these cases."

These cases do not, at this time, appear to linked to burglars apprehended last month in other cases, investigators said.

"We think this because we put some people in jail last month for burglary, but it has not stopped," Chester explained.

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