Thieves go after big-ticket items at houses under construction in St. Clair County

News-DemocratNovember 15, 2013 

Investigators are asking the public for help in tracking down the people responsible for a string of burglaries to homes under construction in and around Belleville.

St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said someone has been stealing appliances and construction materials from home construction sites.

"It's getting to be a big issue for us and I know that Belleville is having the same problems," Watson said. "They're stealing big ticket items and I've been around long enough to know that this is someone in the area who knows when the deliveries are coming."

A house being built at 215 Windridge Court on Illinois 158 between Belleville and Millstadt was hit Oct. 30. About $60,000 worth of stuff was taken including a $7,000 stainless steel barbecue, a $5,000 gas fireplace, $5,000 worth of interior lighting and stainless steel kitchen appliances. All of the items were in the home's garage waiting to be installed when they were taken.

Belleville Police Capt. John Moody said the department is investigating reports of missing equipment and materials from housing construction sites in early October.

Moody said the incidents were reported on Oct. 1, Oct. 2, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8. The reported burglaries were in different locations in the 2600 block of Cedar Grove Drive.

In one instance, a construction trailer was broken, Moody said.

Belleville police ask residents to be vigilant of suspicious behavior, such as activity on construction sites outside of typical business hours. The Belleville Police Department can be reached at 234-1218.

Watson said investigators thought they might have cracked the case last week when suspects were brought in for questioning. Watson said the interview yielded some leads. But the people who were brought in passed a polygraph test and it was determined that they were not directly involved with the thefts.

"Someone had to see something," Watson said. "We needs some leads. When a house is being built people see trucks coming and going and don't think anything of it. But we're asking them to pay attention and let us know if they have seen anything."

Watson asked residents who might have seen anything suspicious, including trucks coming and going from residential construction sites after dark, to call the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department at 277-3500.

Reporter Jacqueline Lee contributed information to this article. Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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