GROVETOWN, Ga (WJBF)- Local police are seeing a rise in thefts of supplies of construction materials. Construction sites have always been a target for thieves, but now it’s a more serious offense.

It’s no secret that the cost of lumber in particular, has sky rocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, gone up nearly 300 percent. Local police say that’s why they are seeing an uptick in thefts of supplies at construction

Some people are stealing them for their own use because of the supply shortage, Others are taking them to sell for a large profit.

Chief Jamey Kitchens of the Grovetown Police Department said those high costs of supplies are what could land you a more serious charge if you are caught.

“You’re looking at $6,100 for 114 sheets of plywood. So, you’re well into the felony range on thefts when it comes to that. It’s the dollar amount is what causes the statute to change from felony to misdemeanor or misdemeanor, rather, to felony,” he explained.

That means that if someone were to steal enough wood to build a shelf, they could be charged with felony theft if they are caught.

Chief Kitchens said any theft over $1,500 is a felony. He explained that one thing developers can do to protect themselves is to set specific work hours when possible– so anyone on site after those hours looks suspicious.

“You know, it’s hard at these job sites, because your different contractors and subcontractors, they keep varying hours,” Chief Kitchens said. “So, for us to ride through on a Saturday afternoon at 2:00 and see somebody at a job site is not uncommon. It’s getting more and more, especially now with the time change, at 8:00 at night to see someone out there still working. It’s not uncommon.”

Chief Kitchens said right now, nearly $25,000 worth of building supplies has been reported stolen.

Law enforcement can’t be everywhere at once and Chief Kitchens is asking for the public’s help.

If you see suspicious activity, like someone loading materials rather than unloading them, at a construction site, call the police.

If you see something, say something.