Updated 04/05/2012 08:35 PM
Copper theft on rise
The price of copper is up, which means copper thefts are also on the rise. As our Venise Toussaint tells us, the metal piping can be found nearly anywhere and has become a hot item for thieves.
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, N.Y. -- Copper piping isn't exactly what most people would think to protect from thieves, but maybe it should be.
“We’re starting to see a lot of these thefts," said Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.
“It’s becoming a valuable commodity and a lot of these people, for different reasons drugs, other needs are looking for quick cash, you take it to the salvage yard and they give you cash by the pound,” added Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff.
The metal pipes can be found in most homes and businesses and have become the item of choice for some thieves.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s office responded to three home burglaries on Wednesday and the thieves were all after copper. Officials say Guy Mead, 34, admitted to stealing copper pipes from an unoccupied home in the Town of Thompson.
“They used a K-9 unit to track him to a vehicle which was parked nearby and placed him under arrest," Chaboty said.
Copper is worth more than three dollars per pound. That doesn’t sound like much, but officials say thieves can rack up hundreds of pounds of copper, then sell it at salvage yards for a quick buck and unlike jewelry, stolen copper can’t be traced.
"When you bring jewelry to a pawn shop, they can look at the jewelry, you can identify that piece. We can follow up on that at times, but copper pipe is copper pipe,” Schiff said.
Officials say thieves typically target seasonal or unoccupied homes, but have been known to strike elsewhere. They say homeowners should install alarms and be aware of any suspicious activity in their area.