Business owner catches burglar stealing roofing supplies on Christmas


by Adam Walser

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 27 at 7:31 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The owner of a roofing supply company helped police catch a man believed to be involved in a recent rash of business burglaries.

Joseph Hardwick had just been released from jail for burglary related charges last week when police believe he targeted other businesses. Hardwick is behind bars while detectives continue putting pieces together in the cases.

“We noticed a white box van had been entering the premises here,” Pat Jennings, one of the owners of Roofing Supply Group on Crittenden Lane said.

When the company was closed at night, over the weekend and during the Christmas holiday, unwelcome visitors repeatedly appeared on surveillance video, then disappeared after loading up a box truck with valuable supplies.

Jennings estimates losses to the business at more than $10,000. He decided to camp out in the parking lot and see if the van would return again.

It did, at about 10 o'clock Wednesday night.

“The box van showed up. Police were called and showed up in force and arrested the guy,” Jennings said.

Joseph Hardwick was charged with burglary, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

The box van he was driving was reported stolen from the rear parking lot of Mr. Roof on December 19.

“It was actually out here in the yard. Someone managed to cut through the chain and open up one of the gates and then was able to hot wire it,” Matt Dykes of Mr. Roof said.

Hardwick was arrested last Thursday, after allegedly stealing ladders and cooper from Steinrock Roofing and Sheet Metal.

Police say Hardwick was driving a stolen, hot-wired van at the time.

Owner Tim Steinrock was alerted to the theft when Hardwick allegedly tried to sell the items at a scrap yard.

Steinrock rushed to the scrap yard and boxed Hardwick's vehicle in until police arrived. 

“I was hoping. I was hoping. You always want to catch a thief in progress,” Steinrock said.

The same night he was arrested for that theft was when the burglaries began at Roofing Supply Group.

“You want to believe your fellow man would never do that to you. But unfortunately it happens. And hits you on all days of Christmas Eve and Christmas. It's really troubling,” Jennings said.

Police believe at least two other suspects were involved in both sets of burglaries.

They believe Hardwick may have also targeted a third roofing company last week.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Louisville Metro Police Anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD.