By: Sheriff Carmine Marceno
Construction sites are appearing all over the Lee County Sheriff’s Office East District. Undeveloped properties have increased in value and the demand for new homes has grown beyond expectation.
New home sites are particularly vulnerable to theft as the properties are vacant during the evening hours. Home builds, in their latter stages, include new appliances and, unfortunately, are frequently targeted.
While this activity is not unique to this region, the volume of theft has grown. Nationwide, an estimated $1 billion of materials are stolen annually from construction sites…Florida ranks third in the nation behind California and Texas.
A recent and dramatic increase in the cost of building supplies…especially lumber…has resulted in an escalation of criminal activity at these locations.
As a result of these thefts, I have created a Construction Site Investigations Unit, staffed with Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives, to investigate these construction-related felonies.
While this unit has proven to be effective and has made a significant number of arrests, the unit’s success is dramatically improved when community members reach out with concerns and information.
Your assistance is invaluable! Should you see something, say something, make the call!
The majority of theft occurs between Friday at 6:00 pm and Monday’s early morning hours. Contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office immediately (239-477-1000 non-emergency / 9-1-1 emergency) should you suspect construction-site theft, or observe:
- Vehicles or individuals at the construction site during the evening and overnight hours.
- Loud noises during these darkened periods. This should raise red flags!
- Juveniles, as they have no reason for being at or near construction locations at any time.
- Flashlights and cellphone lights after dark.
Let’s work together to keep Lee County a safe and wonderful place to live!