In an older neighborhood in the heart of Port St. Lucie, there are new signs of life.
A handful of new homes graces a block along Southwest Homeland Road. One woman says a new house is on the market next door to her. Recently, she saw two men wheeling out an appliance.
“I saw a red car backed up to the patio with the hatchback open," said the neighbor, who did not want to be identified.
Something didn’t seem right, so she called the broker.
“I just assumed it was one of the contractors. A lot of people going in and out of the house,” she said.
It turns out the two men were crooks. They nabbed the brand new refrigerator out from the kitchen and drove off. It’s one of 10 burglaries in the past two months at home construction sites. Right now, the city has nearly 900 new construction permits out, giving criminals ample opportunities.
“Tiles to refrigerators, to stoves, to even construction equipment," said Sgt. Frank Sabol with the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
In some cases, secured entrances are being pried open. In one case, the crooks couldn’t fit the refrigerator through the screened in patio and left it there.
With the thefts happening throughout the city, police aren’t sure if they’re related, but they have been in contact with the builders, and are asking residents who live near new home sites to keep their eyes peeled for anything suspicious.