Thieves have discouraged a Windsor, N.S., business from expanding into Annapolis County, representing the loss of hundreds of jobs for the Bridgetown area.

Nu-Air Ventilation Systems Inc. had plans to expand their manufacturing team by hiring more than 200 people to work out of the former Britex textile plant in Centrelea, near Bridgetown.

The building was bought by Nu-Air Ventilation Systems five years ago from the provincial government, but the owner said the expansion plan has been ditched because thieves and vandals continue to target the vacant structure.

"There's just too much theft going on there," said Earl Caldwell.

"This has been, like, 12 or 13, 14 times they've broken in."

An estimated $100,000 worth of copper wire has been stolen from the building. Wires throughout the building have been stripped and electrical conduits have had wires pulled from them.

"I would not go there and put in the kind of money that we have to put into equipment and then have to hire security to watch it 24 hours a day to watch it, I'm not going to do it, it's just not worth it," Caldwell told CBC News.

"We'll operate somewhere where hopefully the theft isn't quite so much, at least try another place."

Four men were charged with breaking and entering after they were found inside the building and arrested in March. They will be in court next month.

Caldwell's decision to pull away from the move to the Bridgetown area is a hard pill to swallow for some people who live there.

"That is a very unfortunate change of events because we really need — with the economy in the state it is — we really need more businesses coming to the area to support the local communities," said Kris Humphreys.

Bridgetown's mayor said vandals and thieves have become a big concern.

"We've had a rash of that kind of thing in the area, not so much in the town but in the rural area around us, we've had that kind of theft taking place," said Art Marshall.

"Maybe it's a sign of the times."

Caldwell said the company will need to quickly move forward with its expansion plan to fill orders from China and India for the company's new all-in-one fireplace, furnace, air conditioner and ventilation system.

The former Britex textile plant building will likely be dismantled and the land sold, said Caldwell.