By Joe Beck
Authorities are searching for one or more suspects in the theft of an estimated $50,000 in supplies taken from the construction site of the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail at 6601 in Warren County over the weekend.
Investigators called to the site at 6601 Winchester Road on Monday reported 14 construction trailers had been broken into, according to a news release issued by Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron. The list of stolen items included spools of electrical wiring, copper plumbing fittings, tools and a dirt bike.
In an interview, McEathron said someone entered the site between 3 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Monday by cutting a lock on the main gate. Work crews discovered the missing items when they returned to the site Monday morning.
McEathron said investigators canvassing the area found someone who reported a suspicious 18-foot box truck in or around the construction site. The truck, of unknown make, model and color, is described as having a mural or logo on the side.
"They cut the lock on the main gate and drove the truck through," McEathron said of the suspects.
McEathron said the crime is unlikely to slow construction of the jail, which is scheduled to open July 1, 2014.
"All of the items that were stolen can be reordered," McEathron said. "I can't imagine it being much of a delay, if any."
McEathron said thefts of building materials are common problems at construction sites, "but this is the first one that I know about" at the new jail's location.
He said thieves typically look for valuable metals such as cooper and bronze in pipes and wiring that can be melted down, reused or sold elsewhere.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Warren County Sheriff's Office investigator Allen Smoot at 540-635-7100.
"Hopefully, we can catch them and give them a place stay out there," McEathron said of those who did the stealing.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org