Home » Construction Site Theft — What Are The Top Stolen Items?

Construction Site Theft — What Are The Top Stolen Items?

Posted by Steve Mansell on Jan 18, 2018

The National Equipment Register (NER) reports that construction site theft is a low-risk, high-opportunity activity for thieves. This can be attributed to several factors:

1. Only 25% of stolen equipment is ever recovered.

2. There is not a national database for construction equipment.

3. It is difficult to determine if purchased construction equipment was stolen.

Construction site theft can negatively impact operational costs. The estimated annual value of stolen construction items is between $300 million – $1 billion USD. In addition to the monetary value of the stolen goods, projects can be delayed while waiting on equipment and material replacements.

What are the Most Commonly Stolen Items at a Construction Site?

Small Tools

Some of the most commonly stolen items at a construction site are small tools and supplies. Few people would notice if a wrench, saw, or power drill suddenly went missing. While they are low-cost items, the cumulative loss from multiple tools would eventually add up.


Many high-end apartments, duplexes, and residential communities install expensive appliances in each of their units. Dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and ovens are delivered to construction sites. If these items are stored for an extended period of time, they become a target for thieves. When there are multiple complexes under construction, it can be difficult to keep track of the inventory.


Periodically, on-site contractors who need lumber or other supplies for their own projects take what they need from a construction site after hours.

Heavy Machinery

Construction equipment is expensive and can be profitable when it’s re-sold. Heavy machinery like bulldozers are valuable, but because they are harder to move, they account for a small percentage of construction site thefts. Mowers and backhoes are commonly stolen due to their ease of mobility and multi-functional uses.

What Can Help Prevent Construction Site Theft?

Construction site theft can be further emphasized when the project location is not secure. UCIT’s remote video monitoring solution can help protect your property. Construction site security specialists strategically place outdoor surveillance cameras around a project site. Trained operators can remotely watch several areas of a property at the same time and safely assess the situation from a distance. If they see suspicious activity, they can activate an on-site speaker warning. If the situation escalates, they can contact the local police.