Whether the project is a new building or renovating an existing structure, construction sites can be very busy spaces filled with all manner of building materials, tools and personnel.
But not even construction sites are free from crime. Construction site theft is a surprisingly rampant offense across America. The latest statistics even show that North Carolina is the U.S. state with the second-highest number of construction site thefts, just behind Texas.
Theft from a construction site is a criminal offense, like most other crimes involving stealing. However, because the items stolen from these worksites tend to be very pricey, the penalties for theft can be more severe than usual.
The law on construction site theft
According to North Carolina law, stealing or receiving stolen goods from a permitted construction site is a Class I felony. The law applies for thefts valued between $300 and $1,000. But if a person steals more than $1,000, the state’s standard larceny laws apply, and the offense is a Class H felony.
Common items stolen from worksites
Construction sites may not look like it at first, but they can be home to many high-value items for theft. They include:
- Copper and other metals used as building materials
- Hand and power tools
- Heavy machinery such as utility vehicles and tractors
The offense must occur within a construction site licensed by the state or a local government for the law to apply.
The penalties for construction site theft
If a person is convicted of construction site theft, a Class I felony, they face up to two years of prison. This is the same penalty for those convicted of breaking into a vehicle, embezzlement, and check forgery face. However, a conviction for a Class H felony leads to up to three years of prison instead.
Stealing from a construction site in North Carolina is a crime, and those who commit the offense can potentially face years of prison time. Those facing charges would do well to learn their rights before going into their hearings.