Copper thefts on the increase in Albany - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Copper thefts on the increase in Albany

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Albany Police say metal thefts are increasing again now that metal prices have skyrocketed.

Copper thieves are targeting vacant houses, rental properties, and air conditioning units.

Police say they need your help to stop these thefts.

The owner of these apartments on Shelby Lane says metal thieves broke in and stripped several vacant units. The estimate of the damage is more than ten thousand dollars.

Vacant houses like this one are favorite targets for thieves.

Albany Police Sgt. Edward Heath said "the water pipes, wires out of the walls. They ripping them out, because some of the wires have copper in them. They taking anything they can think of that they think they can get some money off it, they taking it."

It could cost more to repair old houses like this after metal thieves pick it clean than they are worth. So the owners have to consider tearing them down, and too often they are just abandoned. City Commissioner Jon Howard says he is hearing complaints from many victims.

Howard said "Individuals probably doing it, probably unemployed, don't care. Just doing things to make a quick buck and not realizing what it's going to do to the property owner or home owner."

Police say local metal scrap yards are cooperating, and think thieves are taking the stolen metal out of town to sell.

Howard said "I think sometime these individuals are clever enough to go out and steal, they take it to another jurisdiction or another county and sell that for little or nothing."

Police are asking people to keep a close eye on their neighborhood, especially the vacant houses or buildings.

Heath said "Be our eyes and ears, to contact us when they see a strange person, or an individual walking around a vacant house or apartment. They need to give us a call."

Howard says he has increased security at his home, because of this increase in metal thefts. The Police Theft Unit says they are investigating almost 600 cases of metal theft right now.

Now you may think metal thieves will never bother you, so it's not your problem, but stripped vacant homes in your community pull down your home value. And these air conditioning units at the city recreation building, well your tax money will have to pay the thousands of dollars to replace them. So this crime is everyone's problem.

Police want your help. Get a good description of strangers that you suspect, and get a car tag number if possible,  and call 9-1-1 to report metal thieves if you suspect a problem.

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