Caught on Camera: Suspect stealing construction supplies in Lehigh Acres

Published: April 18, 2022 9:09 AM EDT
Updated: April 18, 2022 6:45 PM EDT

Deputies are looking for a suspect caught on camera stealing supplies from a construction site in Lehigh Acres on Saturday.

Since building materials are more expensive than ever, thieves are targeting construction sites. They are also in short supply as this trend continues.

Trish Routte is the Crime Stoppers coordinator. “There have been multiple construction site thefts so far this year. And you know, until the supply chain starts getting back to normal, we definitely anticipate that continuing to happen,” Routte said.

Construction companies say they struggled to keep up with demand before supply chain issues hit. And, the fact that this thief ended leaving with wood boards and sheets of red and white plywood will slow things down even more.

“Wood, as you know, right around at this time, super hard for construction companies to come by wood in the first place,” said Routte. “It’s really a double whammy for somebody to come up onto their site and take all their wood now that they’re back at ground zero in trying to get these homes built.”

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, a man is seen on surveillance footage arriving at a construction site in the 2400-block of Paul Avenue in Lehigh Acres and taking sheets of red plywood, white plywood and wood boards off the property and into his truck.

Now, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers needs your help finding this man. “If you’ve got to wait weeks on weeks to get this plywood in stock, and then you finally get it in stock, you’re ready to move forward with a project, and all of a sudden somebody comes up, and they steal it from you, you know. Because supplies are in such short demand, that definitely is increasing the criminal activity that we’re seeing on construction sites,” said Routte.

So, Routte wants everyone on high alert. “If they see somebody on a construction site, taking things off the site, instead of putting things on, we want them to give us a call and let us know. Because chances are, that person is probably stealing,” Routte said.

If you have any information on the man’s identity, you can call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477 or submit a tip online or on the P3Tips mobile app. If your anonymous tip leads to his arrest, you’ll be eligible for a cash reward.

The pickup truck of a suspected construction supply thief in lehigh Acres. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office