It’s Time for Wireless Alarm Systems – Burglars Strip Buildings under Renovation in LA

Posted by , , at 8:54 am

While our specialty at FrontPoint is interactive, wireless home security, we also serve the commercial sector – which is why this recent LA Times story on burglars stripping vacant buildings caught my attention:

A team of burglars has been roaming the streets of downtown Los Angeles, search for aging, vacant buildings they can strip bare. Over the last year, at least four buildings have been stripped clear of copper wiring and other metals during brazen heists that often take days to complete. Thieves may spend days ripping out copper wiring from walls, stripping transformers of wire and stealing pipe and sprinkler heads.

Why They Do It

This type of heist is not new, but with the price of metals increasing, incidence of theft is also on the rise. Most of my builder friends install a basic FrontPoint alarm system during construction, because the threat is greatest when the copper pipes and wire are more exposed, and easier to remove.

Police estimate each job can yield $1 million or more in metals — and cost much more for property owners to repair the damage. On Thursday, detectives said they caught one alleged member of the team in the act at the old Garfield Building at 8th and Hill streets. Police said the thieves burn off insulation to get to wires and burrow into walls seeking valuable copper, which sells for $4.22 a pound.

These Crooks are Serious

Police found that the burglars apparently had lowered a massive transformer from an upper floor to the basement, using old fire hoses. Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Paul Vernon said officers believe the team also stripped the vacant Commercial Exchange Building across the street, which, like the Garfield, is being renovated. The estimated loss at that building was $1 million. The burglars at the Garfield went to elaborate lengths, somehow tapping into the power supply to run lights and the heavy tools needed to take the items.

It’s a Risky Business – for the Burglars

For the burglars, it can be a dangerous business. In October, a man was electrocuted and his wife was burned as they stripped wire from an underground vault in South Gate. Two men were killed last year in Riverside County while stealing copper from a utility vault.

After reading these stories, you can see why builders, developers, and even banks who own foreclosed properties rely on FrontPoint to protect vacant buildings, construction sites and trailers, or renovation projects. After all, FrontPoint systems rely on safer cellular monitoring, so no phone line is required. And with interactive monitoring, they can tell when the system is armed and disarmed, when power is lost, and even when workers or other visitors come and go. Finally, FrontPoint systems are completely mobile – so they can easily be expanded or moved from site to site. As the leader in interactive, wireless security, FrontPoint is the perfect solution for a wide range of customers looking for peace of mind – whether you are protecting your home and family, or $1 million worth of copper at a building site. Please give us a call – we can do it all.

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