LADUE, Mo. – Thieves are making home building a whole lot harder in the Ladue area. Police say they’re snatching tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment from construction sites, impacting hard-working crews and their customers.

Police are still searching for whoever’s responsible for these crimes. Meanwhile, it’s an upsetting situation for contractors. Several of them said they arrived at work one morning to find all their equipment gone.

That’s what happened to Kirkwood Stair & Millwork Carpenter Rusty Messex, at a home site off McKnight. His specialty tools, some of them irreplaceable, had all disappeared. He says, “Most of the stuff is specialty tools, with the stair business, we just don’t buy this over the counter. A lot of it we have to order. But my problem with it is the hand tools and things given to me, people passed away and given it to me, and you can’t replace that.”

Ladue police say almost $10,000 in equipment was stolen from this new home construction site. By the time Messex finished the job and moved to the next, he was shocked to hear a familiar story.

CTM Construction Foreman Todd Bock says, “We came into work Monday morning and all of our tools were gone, everything. It makes it tough. We’re a pretty small company, and we lost a lot of stuff we had to replace, or we couldn’t move forward.”

Bock says the thieves broke into a locked trailer and the guest house. They took $17,000 worth of saws, nail guns and other tools.

These two thefts are not isolated. Within the past two months, police say there have been at least three of these thefts in Ladue, several in Richmond Heights, and possibly in other surrounding communities as well. In Richmond Heights, police say thieves stole an entire trailer filled with tools, worth well over $25,000.

If you live near a home building site and see anything suspicious, especially vehicles going in and out at odd hours, call police.