It was relatively quiet on Tuesday in Queen Creek.

Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy Rich Valentine tried to unlock a car with the keys left inside. He noted a resident’s traffic complaint and handled a custody dispute. He also took two theft reports — both from homebuilders.

Construction theft is an ongoing concern for the sheriff’s office, Valentine said. Nearly every day, sheet rock, tools, plumbing fixtures, hardware and even doors are turning up missing.

On Tuesday, a drywall company reported an entire scaffold had been stolen.

The thefts aren’t just happening in Queen Creek. Police say it’s an ongoing issue in Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler — wherever new homes are being built.

"Whenever you have construction, you’re going to have subcontractors deciding to pilfer equipment or homeowners who want to update their faucets," said sheriff ’s Lt. Ed Shepherd. "It’s a significant problem."

David Jones, president of the Arizona Contractors Association, said unscrupulous construction workers steal materials because they know when deliveries are made and homes under construction are most vulnerable.

"At the same time, these thieves could just be individuals who are out to make a fast buck," he said. "They could sell a washer and dryer on the corner of 19th and Bell tomorrow."

Homebuilders often turn to Anderson Security Agency for help.

Ross Taylor, chief of operations for the company, said the cost of plywood and two-by-fours have significantly increased recently — making theft a tempting option.

Taylor said he remembers an employee coming across a thief who had loaded down his hatchback with 30 sheets of plywood, valued at more than $1,000. "He had stacked his roof so high with the sheets that his roof had started to cave in," he said.

As the Valley continues to grow and construction sites ge t farther from welldeveloped areas, the problem will get worse, Taylor said.

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