PELHAM, GA (WALB) - Copper is a hot commodity. Thieves seem to be stealing copper pipes and wires all across South Georgia, and selling the metal.
In Pelham a thief even stole the copper gutters off two historic buildings downtown.
William Snipes owns H & S Recycling in Pelham. He buys, processes, and sells scrap metals people bring and sell to him at the shop.
Last week 46 year old Kelvin Randall did just that.
"He'd come in every morning, just about the time we opened up. Two or three pieces at a time. He'd come in walking and he'd have it waiting over there in the bushes, and he'd be waiting for us to come in," says Snipes.
Randall came three days straight last week always arriving at the crack of dawn with a new handful of copper.
"I finally called police because I knew he had to be stealing it from somewhere," says Snipes.
Police began investigating and found that several gutters were missing from two historic buildings downtown: The Hand Trading building and The Carnegie Library.
"Some copper drainage pipe was stolen off the side of the building and subsequently sold at the recycling place in town," says Rod Williams, Chief Investigator for the Pelham Police Department.
The pipes brought to H & S were a perfect match to the ones off the library and it was all recovered. The gutters stolen off the Hand Trading Building however were not. Some of them had already been shipped off and crushed for recycling.
"Anything copper is at risk to be stolen here lately," says Investigator Williams.
"I'm paying over two dollars a pound for it now. He probably sold me close to 150 dollars worth," says Snipes.
Pelham Police say this is one of several copper thefts they've seen over the past few months.
"We've had instances where they've crawled under buildings and sawed off the copper plumbing pipes and we've also had some instances where they steal copper ground wires off telephone poles," says Williams.
And Recycling companies are catching on.
"We've been watching out for it," says Snipes.
Kelvin Randall is the only suspect in the case at this time. If you have any information on the thefts or where he is you're encouraged to call Pelham Police at 229-294-6003. Feedback
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