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Sheriff deputies recover stolen load of lumber
stolen lumber
A probation search in the Manteca area on Dec. 30 led authorities to the discovery of a truckload of stolen lumber.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the rightful owner of a load of stolen lumber that was discovered in the back of a pickup truck in Manteca.

According to the agency, a probation search that was conducted in the area on Dec. 30 let authorities to discovery of the cache of lumber – which the suspect admitted to officers was stolen.

They believe it may have been taken from a construction site in the Tracy area within the last two months but are still searching for the rightful owner so that it can be returned.

According to Fortune Magazine, the price of lumber – which was prohibitively expensive in the early days of the pandemic because of short supply – bottomed out in August of last year at $389 per thousand board feet of lumber.

But those prices didn’t last long.

In the ensuing four months the price of framing lumber continued to rise – hitting $915 per thousand board feet by the middle of December, and with prices climbing upwards of $130 in a single week.

At only $800 per thousand board feet, the cost of framing a 2,000 square foot house is estimated to be around $20,000 in just materials alone – almost $14,000 for the framing lumber and nearly another $6,000 for structural panels like plywood.

High costs have made the essential material a hot commodity on the black market and have prompted some builders to use overnight security in order to protect their investment.

The bundle of lumber that was recovered in Manteca included various framing headers and framing lumber with orange spray paint along the side – which the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office says is indicative of coming from a building site.

Anybody with any information regarding the case is encouraged to contact Deputy Brandon Pekarek at 209.938.7845 or by email at Those reaching out with a potential tip are urged to reference Case No. 21-16570.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.