Canadian Contractor

WRLA tracking rise in lumber thefts


June 11, 2021
By WRLA

The Western Retail Lumber Association is becoming increasingly aware of more lumber thefts reported as prices hit unprecedented highs in North America.

Reports have been coming in from across Canada of lumberyard thefts, truck robberies and people stealing from build sites.

In recent days the WRLA has been requested for numerous media interviews from stations such as CTV Calgary, the Daily Hive and CTV’s national radio show — the Evan Solomon Show —  to discuss the rise in thefts. You can see recent interviews on our website.

We have received some helpful tips from police agencies in different parts of the region to further help you protect the safety of your teams, businesses and products.

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Serious crimes have been reported in the country such as a theft in Calgary resulting in $80,000 worth of lumber and two trailers worth $100,000 stolen, as well as $10,000 worth of lumber reported stolen at a Guelph lumberyard when a stolen truck rammed their gate and took off with the products. 

We have heard from members that builders are ensuring there is a point person to receive shipments and this information should be shared with their material suppliers to ensure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. As a safe guard, increasing the number of deliveries with less material will help to reduce the amount of material sitting on the site at the end of the day.

Guelph police say businesses are encouraged to do their part to make their lumberyards less attractive to thieves. Police say it’s also important to upgrade your security system so if you are a victim of a crime, it will be easier for officials to track down those responsible.  

Guelph police tips for small businesses:

  • Increase lighting on your property over night 
  • Physically block access to your yard when possible 
  • Consider on-site security and cameras 
  • Display signage advertising your site has surveillance cameras  

Tips to Prevent Site Thefts  

The issue is happening across the country and Edmonton Police say it’s an issue in Alberta too where thieves target newer suburban neighbourhoods specifically where there’s a lot of construction going on. 

Edmonton police tips for build sites:

  • Take home tools at the end of each shift 
  • Install security cameras  
  • Hire security to patrol sites 
  • Encourage neighbours of the property to call police if they notice suspicious behaviour 
  • Thefts typically happen on nights and weekends  


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