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Buying lumber off Craigslist? Make sure it's not stolen from a construction site

According to the HBA of Metro Denver, a side effect of the increased cost of lumber is theft.

DENVER — Homebuilders have always been concerned about security on construction sites, but usually people are out to steal tools and copper. 

"Job site theft isn’t new, so this is something they’ve had to deal with, but no, you know this is interesting," said Ted Leighty, the CEO of the Homebuilder's Association of Metro Denver.

The newest hot commodity for criminals at construction sites? Lumber. 

"Anecdotally ... there has been a big uptick in theft and attempts of theft," Leighty said.  

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While he can't quantify that theft, and Denver Police Department said it is not aware of an uptick, Leighty said the concern has caused construction sites to add cameras and take extra security measures. 

If their wood is stolen, it costs a lot to replace it. 

While lumber costs have recently gone down, Leighty said they are nowhere near last year's prices. 

RELATED: A lumber shortage has sent home prices soaring

"They’re not even close," he said. "They’re still 300-plus percent over where they were last time this year." 

The National Association of Homebuilders estimates the skyrocketing prices adds $36,000 to each single family home built. 

While HBA members trust the suppliers they buy their lumber from, Leighty warns people working on personal projects to make sure their wood isn't stolen. 

“If you’re doing a home improvement project, you’re likely going to buy it from Home Depot or Lowes, or one of your lumber yards or some sort of material supplier," he said. "I would certainly be cautious of buying lumber for a home improvement project on Craigslist." 

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