Crooks hit more Rutherford County construction sites - KCTV5

Crooks hit more Rutherford County construction sites

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

Construction sites in Rutherford County have been the target of thieves who are stealing everything from roofing shingles to tools and building material. And police are now looking into whether a blowtorch welder was used to commit another crime.

The $5,000 Miller Trail Blazer Welder, along with 200 feet of welding lead cable, was stolen from Overall Creek Elementary School, which is under construction off Veterans Parkway in Murfreesboro.

"It's really frustrating, because you are depending on it to get work done. And if it's not there, it makes it hard," said AMI Construction foreman Barry McDaniel.

McDaniel and his crew were using the welder to install the plumbing in the new school.

"It's real aggravating. I wish they could get caught," McDaniel said. "There is no excuse for theft."

The theft apparently occurred last weekend. Around the same time, the Advance Auto Parts store on South East Broad Street was broken into.

Police said someone used a welding blowtorch to break into a metal safe at the auto parts store.

Investigators are not ruling out the possibility the welder stolen from the school construction site could have been used to crack open the safe.

"Many times, criminals will steal items from one location and use it to commit crimes in another location," said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans. "We are looking to see if it was used to open a safe at a commercial business."

McDaniel said the welder had been on the job site for months and had not been touched. Now, he, too, is wondering if it was used to commit the other crime.

"You can't put anything past criminals," McDaniel said. "You can have your welder outside the building and run your wire inside the building because that's what you weld with."

Over the past few months, several Rutherford County construction sites have been the target of thieves.

This week, criminals stole copper wiring from a condo duplex under construction and from an HVAC unit. Windows were also broken out and spray paint on the inside and outside of the building caused more than $10,000 worth of damage.

Police have increased patrols around area construction sites, but with new construction on almost every corner of the fast-growing community, officers said they can't be every place at the same time.

If you have any information that could be helpful to police in tracking down the construction site crooks, you can call Crimestoppers at (615) 893-STOP.

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