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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -
A new elementary school in Murfreesboro is still months from opening, but construction workers would like to place thieves in timeout after building material keeps disappearing.
This time, workers put down their tools and picked up a detective hat to help identify a thief.
Construction workers with JWC Specialties are happy to still be on schedule installing metal roofing on the new Overcreek Elementary School in Murfreesboro.
"I knew we would have to reorder everything, and we would be put behind," said construction worker Jason Johnson.
Over the weekend, someone stole between $6,000 and $8,000 worth of metal roofing material. The thief then sold it for $200.
"I hate a thief, man," Johnson said. "I hate someone who steals something that's not theirs."
Johnson did something about it.
"I did a little bit of detective work of my own," he said.
Johnson took pieces of the metal roofing to area scrap yards to let them know that if someone shows up trying to sell similar material, it's stolen.
"The thief took it to a place that's 10 minutes down the road," Johnson said. "That was the second one I went to."
Managers with Mid Tenn Metal Scrap Yard called Johnson, and police when the suspect showed up to sell the material.
The company was able to get all its material back from the scrap yard, plus police now have a suspect.
"They had all his information, his license, his tag number," Johnson said. "I'm sure they'll get him."
Police are now wondering if this same suspect is also responsible for a rash of construction robberies from other job sites over the past few months.
Last month, an industrial-sized blow torch generator worth thousands of dollars was stolen from the school construction site.
There have also been several other reported thefts at construction sites in the city and the county.
"He very well could be a perpetrator of more than one crime," said Murfreesboro police Maj. Clyde Adkison.
The new school is in a secluded area bordering the city-county line, so police will place extra watch on the area.
"Yes, I can say we are going to beef-up patrol," Adkison said.
Police are actively searching for the suspect.
Detectives said if they are unable to locate him, they will take out warrants for his arrest.
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