PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Port St. Lucie police are on alert after several recent thefts at construction sites, and the items taken come with a hefty price tag.
WPTV spoke to several residents who said they see people who look like workers come in and out of the area regularly, but they never thought to question it until now.
The three thefts all occurred since Dec. 7, amounting to nearly $70,000 in stolen equipment and materials.
“This construction is too beautiful for people to be coming in here and interrupting it and suddenly taking things and stealing materials,” resident Norah Martinez said through a translator.
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Martinez said she moved into the area with her family a couple of months ago.
“I walk the neighborhood with my granddaughter,” Martinez said. “My granddaughter is a baby, and I walk with her and now I feel unsafe because what if they enter my house and steal from us too.”
Port St. Lucie police said the thieves were disguised as construction workers, wearing masks and yellow vests.
“The suspects will break into just a big metal storage container and steal various copper, construction tools,” Port St. Lucie police detective Daniel Papaleo said. “This last incident that happened there were two CONEX boxes that were broken into.”
Martinez said it’s normal to see construction workers, so she never questioned it.
Papaleo said these thefts have become increasingly common as Port St. Lucie grows.
“With that growth comes targeted crimes such as these construction sites where these suspects prey and they know that most of the time these CONEX boxes are full of valuables,” Papaleo said.
The detective recommended calling the police if something doesn’t seem right or someone doesn’t look…