Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 5, 2013

Police investigate theft of equipment from Mercer County Health Department construction site

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

GREEN VALLEY — Police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars in equipment from the construction site of the new Mercer County Health Department.

The theft was reported last month to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department. It is being investigated by Deputy J.D. Eillson.

Several items were stolen from the construction site, including six pieces of scaffold, 140 screw jacks, braces, several propane heaters and a half ton of rebar, according to Rich Stouffer, of the Michigan-based Stephen David, Inc.

“It’s still under investigation,” Lt. Joe Parks, of the sheriff’s department, said. “I know the sheriff and those guys are out and about investigating it.”

Stouffer said the company losses are estimated at $10,000. The company is offering a reward of $2,500 for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the theft, or for the return of the stolen equipment.

The theft has impacted the ongoing construction project.

“We couldn’t perform our task and duties without that equipment,” Stouffer said. “We had to buy new ones and rent stuff. It was very costly.”

The new health department is being constructed near the site of the old health center in Green Valley, which was demolished last year.

The demolition and construction are being funded with a $4.2 million grant obtained by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd in 2009. U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. and the local Hugh I. Shott Foundation also helped with the project financing.

Anyone with information concerning the theft is asked to contact the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 304-487-8364.