Copper thieves as brazen as ever - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Copper thieves as brazen as ever

Copper and metal thefts continue to skyrocket in Dougherty County, plaguing businesses and farmers.

Bold metal thieves who ransacked 30 mobile homes at a South Dougherty community Saturday may have returned and tried to break into another home Sunday.

Many farmers have had their irrigation pivots stripped of metal wire multiple times.

Paradise Village managers have a real mess, after copper and metal thieves ransacked 30 homes over the weekend. Saturday managers discovered more than 21 thousand dollars in damage. Dougherty County Police say metal thefts are becoming a really big crime issue.

"They are increasing everyday. They are getting pretty bad," said DCP Captain Jimmy Sexton. 

At Paradise Village vacant homes they were preparing for sale stripped and vandalized. Stoves, furnaces and air conditioners stripped of wiring and copper. Holes in walls, doors kicked in, windows busted, as the thieves took all the wiring and plumbing metal they could haul away.

Then even as Police were still investigating the thefts, a tenant came home to discover someone breaking into their mobile home. Nothing was taken, so they don't know if it was the metal thieves again or not.

 "We haven't had quite the volume like this before. There was a lot of vacant homes out in that area," Sexton said.

Late last week farmer Jimmy McClure reported his irrigation pivot on Spring Flats Road had been stripped of its metal wiring by copper thieves for the third time this year. Thieves took 672 feet of wire off the pivot, doing about six thousand dollars damage.

"The repair costs are astronomical for these farmers. Their insurance is already high. I'm sure that this doesn't help their premiums at all," Sexton said.

Scrap metal dealers tell us that copper and metal prices have not increased dramatically for months, but they are paying between $3.00 and $3.70 a pound now.  

The Paradise Village management company and owners are flying to Albany Wednesday from Michigan, because of these recent thefts. They are considering hiring armed security guards to patrol and protect the property

Farmers tell us they think the metal thieves are being dropped off at the fields to strip the irrigation pivots and then being picked back up about an hour later.

If you see any suspicious activity, call Dougherty County Police at 229-430-6600 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 229-436-TIPS.


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