More construction sites targeted by burglars

Welding machine stolen from future Embassy Suites, deputies say


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – More construction site thefts are under investigation in St. Johns County. 

Four homes under construction were broken into sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning on Old Hickory Forest Road, a neighborhood just north of State Road 16, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies said thieves took appliances such as refrigerators, cooktops, air conditioning units and washing machines. 

Investigators are also looking into two burglaries that took place over the weekend at construction sites in St. Johns County.

First, a garage door opener was stolen from a home being built in the northwest part of the county on Palisade Drive. The house is off Old County Road 210 in St. Augustine, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Nothing else in the home appeared to be missing or tampered with, according to an incident report. The house was secured with all the doors locked on Friday, deputies said. The missing garage door opener is a Genie 850, valued at $268. There were no signs of forced entry, deputies added.

Then, in St. Augustine Beach, construction equipment was taken from the side of the new Embassy Suites that’s currently under construction, according to a police report from the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.

A worker reported that a thief or several thieves entered the job site and stole a welding machine, officers said.

The welding machine weighs about 200 pounds and cannot be carried by one person, the worker told police.

The rest of the construction equipment was chained up together, but this welding machine wasn't, due to its weight and the fact that it was in the center of the building, the worker said.

Last month, News4Jax reported on 20 St. Johns County homes under construction that were burglarized. In each crime, the crooks got away with high-priced appliances.

Investigators aren’t sure who is responsible for the most recent incidents.

Some construction companies said they're going to start putting GPS trackers on appliances before construction is finished, since the thefts have become a growing problem in St. Johns County.

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