Stolen construction materials could cost homeowners thousands

With the cost of home prices in Nashville, many people are choosing to build or renovate their homes instead.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 7:35 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - With the cost of home prices in Nashville, many people are choosing to build or renovate their homes instead.

News4 Investigates has uncovered thieves and targeting homes and businesses under construction, stealing materials.

As News4 Investigates found out, it’s affecting homeowners and business owners in ways you may not have ever thought about.

“Just to my left is where they pulled up their truck. The lumber was stacked right behind me here,” Pastor Roosevelt Walker said, describing where the construction materials were.

It was here one minute, gone the next. Thousands of dollars of wood stolen from the Faith United Missionary Baptist Church in north Nashville.

“We had just received the lumber the day before. Literally, I mean I watched them unpack the lumber right here,” Walker said.

And it’s a problem News4 Investigates has uncovered happening over and over again.

Another incident happened in Franklin where thousands of dollars of wood was stolen from a construction site.

It also happened at a west Nashville business when two men got away with construction materials, according to police.

The solution might seem simple, just order more materials. But it’s actually not that simple. Not only can it delay a project, but the cost of replacing stolen materials can actually fall on the homeowner or business owner.

“Virtually nothing is in stock anymore. We used to order appliances, for instance, six weeks before we intended to install them,” Brady Fry with Fry Classic Construction said.

Fry said materials are harder to get than ever, especially due to the rising cost of lumber.

Fry discussed what steps he takes with his crews to try and prevent the thefts from happening.

“We actually ask them and say to them, ‘Hey, if you’re not going to be able to complete your installation today, let’s take those products with you so they’re not here,’” Fry said.

He also has cameras up that monitor his job sites 24/7.

“It’s motion-activated and it will actually text my cell phone,” Fry said.

Something else though you might not have though about is if this happens, homeowners could be stuck paying for it.

“The materials are actually the owner’s property, even before they’re installed,” Fry said.

That’s why Fry said it’s important to talk to the builder or construction company about a builder’s risk policy so that if this does happen, those extra materials are covered by insurance.

Walker said he feels lucky. In his case, the amount of wood stolen isn’t affecting the opening of his church’s new congregation hall. He knows it could have been worse.

“Obviously, if they had taken more lumber, we would’ve had a different situation on our hands,” Walker said.

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