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Construction Thefts Increase In Moore As Tornado Victims Rebuild

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Randy Dunn is clearing his yard. The May 20 tornado tore through his home in Moore. So as he rebuilds, he keeps his materials covered. Randy Dunn is clearing his yard. The May 20 tornado tore through his home in Moore. So as he rebuilds, he keeps his materials covered.
MOORE, Oklahoma -

As storm victims work to rebuild their homes, Moore Police say they've seen a steady number of construction thefts. They want you to know how to keep your materials safe.

Police say communication with your neighbors is key to keeping your building materials protected, but some storm victims say using neighbors isn't always possible.

Brick by brick Randy Dunn is clearing his yard. The May 20 tornado tore through his home in Moore. So as he rebuilds, he keeps his materials covered.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Coverage

"Mostly you just have to keep it out of sight," said Dunn, who's lived in his home since he was 20 years old. "You have to keep honest people honest, that's all you can do."

But Kayla Chandler says she doesn't have that option as she rebuilds, since nearby homes are gone and her backyard is wide open.

"We're trying to get the house closed up as quickly as possible, so we can save what we have," Chandler said.

But thieves stole her AC unit and all her copper Friday night, and Moore Police say they're getting steady burglary calls.

9/15/2013 Related Story: Copper Thieves Target Moore Tornado Victim Trying To Rebuild

"It's kind of a weekly thing, you know we have construction materials from all over the city taken at different times," said Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis. "Within the next couple months, we should start seeing an increase in the number of houses, which will in turn, increase the number of thefts."

Sgt. Lewis says oftentimes, construction workers are responsible for many building material thefts.

Dunn says he's thankful he has good neighbors to keep an eye out on his materials. He says they monitor the neighborhood in shifts around each person's work schedule.

"Here, there's always somebody watching for us," Dunn said. "We really know everybody, our neighbors are all pretty close, so not just anyone can drive in here."

It's a luxury, Chandler says she wished she had.

"Whatever materials, anybody puts outside or inside their home for the next day or weekend, they could be gone tomorrow, they could be gone tonight," she said.

Moore Police is investigating Chandler's burglary.

Police have decreased regular patrols in the tornado-affected areas since May, so if you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911.

"The problem we have is a lot of construction workers coming in and out, so it's tough for officers to tell who's supposed to be there and who's not," Sgt. Lewis said. "But even during the day time, if it doesn't look like they're working on the house or if they're taking things out instead of dropping things off, that's a sign."

Police also advise people rebuilding to alert your neighbors of what kind of car your builders drive and put up lights as soon as possible.

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