By Andy Carlo A crime wave that has bedeviled Texas LBM dealers since spring continued this week when a Greenville, Texas-based dealer was broken into again, this time resulting in the loss of 580 bundles of shingles.
The dealer struck Sunday, Economy Builders Supply, has now lost more than $140,000 in materials, co-woner Danny Ott told ProSales. In May, Economy lost four flatbed trucks loaded with shingles. GPS units installed on the trucks helped in their eventual recovery, along with 75% of the shingles, but one truck's steering column was destroyed. This second time, only shingles were stolen.
Altogether, more than 60 theft incidents have been reported with as much as $6 million in materials stolen in the past five months. According to the Lumbermen's Association of Texas & Louisiana, its members have lost as much as $4 million in inventory, while the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association places its members' losses at more than $2 million (See related story.)
Ott said Economy is taking more and more precautions with its materials. It now keeps its shingles at the front of the yard after having added lighting. According to Ott, the new location and extra lighting might be less tempting to thieves and makes it easier for police to monitor the situation. The dealer is also parking vehicles differently each evening, barricading forklifts behind trucks.
Following this second theft, Ott has words of advice for fellow dealers in Texas: "If you leave your keys in a place that is not well locked even within the yard, you are asking for it to happen." Each evening, Economy had been locking keys in a foreman's shack. Now the keys are deposited in a lockbox each evening within Economy's office.
Following the first theft, two suspects were arrested while unloading shingles, Ott said. No arrests were made in the second theft.