DALLAS — Crooks nationwide have been stealing millions of dollars worth of shingles from companies this year, a sizable increase from years past. Previously, thieves would steal them from construction sites, but not from manufacturers and distributors. In Texas alone, at least $4 million worth have been stolen this year.
"It's tremendously exasperating," said Barbara Douglas of the Lumbermen's Association of Texas and Louisiana. "Especially for the people that have been hit more than once. It's like hitting them when they're down because the building economy is so slow. Retailers really can't take hits like this."
Investigators believe some thieves are part of an organized operation, stockpiling the materials in anticipation of hurricanes, tornadoes and other roof-ripping storms that would heighten the demand. Other thefts may be isolated incidents from people looking to sell the shingles to roofers for a quick buck. Also, the soaring price of shingles, which are petroleum-based products, has driven the demand for cheaper, black-market roofing material.