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Construction Site Theft

4 Common Items Stolen at Construction Sites

By Carlos Hazbun | Construction Site Security | No Comments

4 Common Items Stolen at Construction Sites (& How to Prevent Theft)

Loss prevention is an enormous element of a construction company’s budget. Although the National Equipment Register (NER) estimates between $300 million and $1 billion in equipment is stolen off job sites each year, there is no official registration like there is for car theft.

What we do know is that the number is larger than it needs to be. Construction theft is preventable and there are easy steps to protect your own sites and the equipment on them. These are the four most common items stolen from sites and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Tools & Small-Scale Supplies

Tools and supplies are where employee theft is the most common. A wrench here, a drill there, doesn’t seem like much in the moment but it can seriously add up over time. And if your company manages multiple sites at once, it can be a big loss for the year.

Good construction site video monitoring to catch anyone in the act can help prevent theft, but perhaps a more long-term solution is fostering good relationships with employees. They might steal because of hardships, grievances and the opportunity for a quick buck. Good relationships might address those issues before they fester toward theft.

Tools Stolen from Construction Sites


Appliances are popular targets in areas where construction booms occur, especially residential neighborhoods. When dozens of houses are going up, it’s difficult to safeguard each one when they’re filled with valuable refrigerators, washers, dryers and water heaters.

It’s not economically feasible to arm every house like it’s a maximum security prison, but a single camera with a remote connection at each location where the appliances are already installed could save you thousands over the fiscal year. These cameras are usually easy to install and can be re-installed at the next site when the job is finished.

Appliances Stolen at Construction Sites

John Deere Loaders

Heavy machinery is less commonly stolen, due to its large size that draws attention, but there is one piece equipment that is specifically targeted—John Deere loaders. Almost 2,500 were stolen in 2013, which is staggering when you consider the effort it takes to actually steal something like that. While construction site video monitoring is great to monitor even heavy machinery at the site, investing in a theft prevention system like LoJack can help keep an eye on your loaders and use GPS to locate a stolen unit.

John Deer loader at construction site


Lumber is another common theft by employees on the site and usually occurs by the ones who have their own construction projects on the side. They notice spare lumber not being used and snatch it up after hours. There are three ways to prevent this: First, foster those relationships mentioned above. Second, keep track of spare lumber and don’t let it go to waste (makes it even easier to steal). And third, make sure your security is complete during the after-hours. It’s not just outsiders coming into a site like they do for appliances. Employees will stick around until everyone else has left to make their move.

Lumber on a Construction Site

Construction Site Video Monitoring

Each category has its own approach to prevent theft on the job site, but they all have one common denominator — construction site video monitoring. By installing at least one camera at each of your sites, you drastically reduce the chances of theft and increase the chance of recovering stolen equipment after the fact. Paired with other measures of good security, tracking spare equipment, and creating better relationships with employees, you’ll see better financial results in the loss prevention department.

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