Copper thieves raise alarm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Copper thieves raise alarm

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Colonial Village block captain Harold Williams Colonial Village block captain Harold Williams

An East Albany neighborhood watch group is on alert, after two homes in their community were recently broken into and burglarized. Copper thieves are very active, with prices of metal rising and they are taking more than just air conditioner coils now.

Vacant homes now seem to be the target copper thieves are aiming for. They aren't just stripping air conditioners-- they are stripping all the plumbing, kitchens, and electrical systems if they get time.

Harold Williams, block captain of the Colonial Village Neighborhood Watch, checks a vacant home on Hobson Street hit by thieves.

"This happened Wednesday morning," Williams said. The home, only vacant two weeks, has been torn down to the studs.

 "They stripped out the plumbing. All the plumbing in the kitchen. They go in the utility room and strip everything out of these electrical boxes, panel boxes."

A neighbor spotted the thief taking the air conditioner and called Police, but he got away.

Across the street, another vacant home, is also a mess with the plumbing cut out. "I think this is where some stuff went wrong in this kitchen area. So we don't know exactly what was taken out of here," Williams said.

With the economic struggles, more homes are vacant in Albany, and thieves are targeting them, doing big damage. Police say homeowners need to get valuables out of homes if they are vacant.

 "Make sure they take out large appliances like refrigerators and stoves until the property is either rented or sold. That will help cut down on thefts," said Albany Police Media Manager Phyllis Banks.

Police also say overgrown bushes let thieves know your house is vacant, and give them cover for thefts.

"There is problems back there because of the trees back there. And that security fence. They can easily hide behind that fence," Williams said.

Williams and his neighborhood watch are on alert, urging homeowners to clean up the trees and bushes and keep watch on vacant houses that could become crime scenes.

Williams is alerting his neighborhood watch, telling them about this threat to vacant homes asking them to call 911 if they spot anyone suspicious around those homes.

Williams said it's been more than a year since they had air conditioners stripped of copper in their neighborhood. He says the neighborhood watch is not going to let crime move back in again.

 

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