More bad news for LBM dealers in Texas: Since October, there have been roughly 40 more robberies at facilities across the state. That pushes to at least 100 the number of thefts that the Lumbermen's Association of Texas and Louisiana (LAT) believes have afflicted dealers in the Lone Star State since last spring.

But there is good news, too: LAT says the rate of thefts has appeared to slow drastically going into 2010, with the rumor of just one theft occurring in January. The association gives partial credit for the slowdown to the increased security dealers have implemented at their yards. It also believes dealers have been helped by all the publicity the crimes have received over the past 10 months.

LAT estimates dealers have lost as much as $4 million in materials. ABC Supply has been hit hardest in dollar terms, with nearly $1 million in losses. Meanwhile, San Marcos, Texas-based McCoy's Building Supply locations have suffered a total of 11 robberies, more than any other. The latest McCoy's break-in occurred on Sept. 16, when 171 squares of shingles were stolen.

As much as $30,000 has been pledged by dealer-members in reward money that might lead to capturing the criminals behind the robberies. Texas police authorities have attributed the thefts to Honduran gangs and an underground LBM market that sells stolen goods at cut-rate prices. More than a dozen arrests have been made by Texas police agencies.

Anyone with information that might lead to arrests is advised by the LAT to contact Texas Crime Stoppers at 866-938-TIPS.