February 10, 2014

When Copper Thieves Strike Homes

There is no question that copper theft has gotten worse. Stolen copper is valuable as scrap because the metal is used for so many items—and the profits are huge. Copper is such a hot commodity that thieves are going after the metal anywhere they can find it. Copper theft is a $1 billion business because it is so lucrative and pays big money. Quick, easy cash. Whether it is your local utility power station or your neighborhood home, metal thieves are more bold than ever before, What happens to a home when these thieves strike?

A homeowner in Upstate New York found out first hand just how bold and daring copper thieves are and just how damaging to the home it can be.

Someone broke into this home and stripped out as much copper plumbing they could carry away. The damage to the plumbing and heating system was crippling. The owners quickly found out first hand just how uncaring and crippling copper theft can be,

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The picture on the left is what remains of the bathroom drain and the picture on the right is what remains of the toilet and shower drains. The damage goes further to where the thieves stripped the homes heating pipes from the boiler (shown below).

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Here are some tips to help keep your home and business safe from the copper thieves:

  • Install motion detector lights around your property. You should leave lights on inside your home or business as well.
  • If you have an air conditioner unit, have an anti-theft device installed and connect it to your home security system. Some examples of anti-theft devices are the Copper Cop and The Whip. All of these devices when connected to a security system will send the police when the AC unit is tampered with.
  • Engrave any copper tubing with the address of the property along with any other of the previous ideas.
  • Spray paint the copper found in utility rooms, boiler rooms, etc.
  • Install high resolution day/night surveillance cameras.
  • Install a pressure monitoring sensor and connect it to your monitored security system. If the pressure drops the sensor will trigger the alarm and send law enforcement.
  • Trim shrubs and keep the perimeter of the property clear. Thieves like cover.
  • Report any vandalism in the neighborhood and work with law enforcement and your neighbors to watch for suspicious activity.

Because of copper thieves, this home’s heating system and plumbing supply were crippled and the cost to repair this is in the thousands. Copper theft is NOT a victimless crime.

We often hear from many people that they don’t need a security system because they have nothing to steal. Every property, whether a home or a business has something that can be stolen and is of value to the thief.