By RICH KEITH, Four Points News
Early-morning thieves have stolen lumber, appliances and doors from new-home construction sites located at The Preserve at Four Points community. Austin Police are actively looking for suspects as the robberies continue to occur.
At 10701 Twisted Elm Dr. an entire “truss pack” of lumber was stolen in the middle of the night. Sources on site valued the lumber loss at between $10,000 and $15,000. The theft slows the construction process and creates scheduling problems for framing crews, according to the builder, Standard Pacific Homes.
Just after the first theft, four empty “spec” homes on Senger Place had their front doors taken, along with all the microwaves, dishwashers and gas cooktops in the homes.
Other homes have had stacks of new doors and windows removed from their garages.
Standard Pacific Homes has hired Marshal Security to stay on the property and patrol it each night. Marshall is a licensed and insured private security agency in Texas. According to their web site, Marshall provides armed and unarmed security officers. One of their specialties is construction security among many other services.
The guards’ presence appeared to be working. Marshall Security was released after several days with no thefts from the premises, but thefts began immediately upon their departure. The security patrols are now back on site.
The thefts are thought to occur after midnight and before 3 a.m. according to the Marshall Security guard personnel interviewed. In addition, the guards indicated that Avery Ranch recently was also hit for up to 15 “Cantera” decorative iron doors with a value of up to $3,000 per door.
Austin Police Department is investigating. Their detective confirmed there is only one way in and out of the community, located at the corner of Four Points Drive and River Place Drive. APD indicated that traffic cameras located at the major intersections at RM 2222 and RM 620 operate on a live feed. The department said the cameras are unable, by themselves, to assist in the identification and apprehension of the suspects because they do not record video.
All the recent thefts have occurred in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Preserve at Four Points project, where no residents live. Phase 1 is nearly built out with about 35 homes occupied and no such thefts have occurred there.
Within a month the first new residents will move into Phase 2, hopefully deterring construction theft on the remaining new home sites. But Standard Pacific is taking no chances; they indicate overnight security will remain in place for the foreseeable future.