COLORADO SPRINGS – The statewide lumber shortage worsens in Colorado Springs as home builders report an “unprecedented amount” of site thefts.
“We’re a theft magnet, we can’t secure this type of location,” said Renee Zentz, CEO of the Colorado Springs Home Builders Association.
Wood, paint, roofing materials, and even equipment were stolen from the skeletons of houses under construction in almost all of the large settlements in the area.
Now some are working with Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers to stop these crimes.
“When you look at an apartment building, commercial, and single-family home, it’s all over,” said Ron Lais, general manager of Builder FirstSource, the nation’s largest construction products company based in Colorado Springs.
Lais said thieves even tried to steal wood from her garden, but security forces chased them away first. The cost of the stolen supplies adds $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 to the cost of the home, and up to $ 30,000 on larger projects.
“We are working to provide affordable housing, but theft of materials makes it very difficult and drives up our costs,” said Nick Starkey, Vantage Homes production manager.
The shortage of lumber has already increased the cost of a home by $ 60,000 to $ 100,000, and when combined with the cost of the stolen materials, people are being excluded from the market.
Zentz said that for every $ 1,000 increase in price, 250 people will be priced out.
The thefts also affect construction schedules as orders can take weeks or months due to national scarcity. With Colorado Springs already short of 26,000 homes below the city’s needs, home builders are struggling to stay ahead of the market.
“There is no supply for demand, so you see [materials] go to the black market and take the opportunity to earn some money during this time, ”said Steve Schlosser, the construction manager of Classic Homes.
Zentz said there are some strategies in their talks with law enforcement agencies that law enforcement agencies have started using to stop thieves, although they are not currently sharing them so as not to give any clue to the criminals.
In the meantime, if you have any information about building theft, you will be asked to call your local police or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP. If the information you provide results in an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward.