Construction materials

Stolen building materials could cost homeowners thousands

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – With the cost of home prices in Nashville, many people are choosing to build or remodel their homes instead.

News4 Investigates uncovered thieves and targeted homes and construction businesses, stealing materials.

As News4 Investigates has discovered, it’s affecting homeowners and business owners in ways you might never have imagined.

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

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

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

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

Another incident occurred in Franklin where thousands of dollars worth of lumber was stolen from a construction site.

It also happened at a business in west Nashville when two men got away with building materials, police say.

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

“There is practically nothing left in stock. We used to order fixtures, for example, six weeks before we installed them,” said Brady Fry of Fry Classic Construction.

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

Fry discussed the steps he is taking with his crews to try to prevent the thefts from happening.

“We’re actually asking them and saying, ‘Hey, if you can’t finish your installation today, let’s take these products with you so they’re not here,’” Fry said.

He also has cameras monitoring his construction sites 24/7.

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

Another thing you might not have thought of is that if this happened the owners might have to pay for it.

“Materials are actually property of the owner, even before they are installed,” Fry said.

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

Walker said he felt lucky. In his case, the amount of wood stolen does not affect the opening of his church’s new congregation hall. He knows it could have been worse.

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

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