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Collingswood Man Arrested in $5,000 Construction Yard Theft

James Sweeten, 32, of Collingswood, is alleged to have stolen backhoe forks and sold them for scrap.

Police say scrap metal thefts are a frequent problem at the South State Construction site.
Police say scrap metal thefts are a frequent problem at the South State Construction site.

Police say a Collingswood man who allegedly burgled construction equipment from a local construction site was caught thanks to some detective work after he reportedly attempted to sell the materials for scrap.

Between October 28 and 29, police met with workers at the South State Construction site on Route 130 to investigate the report of a theft of two sets of steel Caterpillar backhoe forks valued at more than $2,500 apiece.

After a trip to Sgt. Scrap in Gloucester City, detectives discovered that James Sweeten, 32, of Collingswood, had reportedly sold three construction forks there. The owner provided slips for the same to police, and Sweeten was arrested. 

Sweeten, who was also wanted on warrants out of Haddon Twp, Bellmawr, Woodbury and Audubon in excess of $1,000, was charged with third-degree theft and was sent to the Camden County correctional facility.

It's not the first or even the second time the project has been victimized by metal thieves; in the past year, more than $16,000 in materials was reported stolen from the job site.

Earlier in October, a Pennsauken man allegedly made off with some $15,000 in tools from the test well drilling site at North Park Drive, as well.

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