Monday, April 2, 2012

Theft of Copper and Other Valuable Metals

Stranded Copper WireSix thefts from Consumers Energy substations in the Battle Creek area  over the past few weeks has resulted in the utility company issuing a $10,000 reward for the apprehension of those responsible.  The theft not only resulted in loss of property but resulted in power outages for a number of customers while repairs had to be made.

The theft of copper piping and wire continues to be on the increase and Alpine Township is not immune.  There have been a number of thefts reported recently from stockyards and unoccupied homes.  

Following is some advise provided a few years ago by Salvage America:

For starters: nothing is the perfect solution to copper theft but thieves prefer easier targets and will often bypass the tough jobs.

Secure the foundation openings in the crawl space of your house with a good hasp and padlock. Yes, locks can be busted with a hammer but not without making a lot of noise.

Call your local fence contractor and have them build a small chain link enclosure around the outside portions of your heating and cooling system. Or, if you’re handy with simple hand tools you can buy a chain link dog enclosure and do it yourself.

Putting a big dog inside the enclosure wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

You would not believe the number of business owners who store their scrap metals outside of their buildings. Maybe you haven’t room for all your scrap outside but storing scrap copper outside is insane considering the current value of copper. Would you store your Gold outside? Besides, piles of metal on the outside will inform thieves that you’re probably keeping more valuable stuff inside.

Open your eyes and take a look around. If you can see it the thieves will see it too.

For obvious reasons your local electric company or municipal board might not allow you to place a padlock on your electrical box but doing so will slow down the thieves.

Mark your stuff with an engraving tool. No, that won’t stop the thieves but it might be enough to get them convicted before they come back to rob you a second time. There are also paints that remain invisible until placed under a UV light.

It may or may not be cost effective to replace your copper plumbing with plastic but if you’re getting hit repeatedly it’s time to ruin the spoils so the thieves will go elsewhere.

If you're a business who frequently allows people from outside your business to haul away your scrap metals for the cost of the metals, take a look at who is hauling away your scrap. For some of these guys the invitation to haul scrap is an invitation to look around to see what they can steal. We know this from experience.

Electric fences can be a good deterrent but they must be marked as electric fences and can’t be placed where children might come in contact with them.

Installing cameras may also help reduce metals theft. And the cameras help out in court as

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