Copper Thieves on the Loose: One is Shocked, the Other is Shot

Posted by , , at 10:00 am

With the price of certain metals higher than they’ve been in several years, it’s no surprise that some bad guys think they’ve found an easy way to cash in. And this disturbing trend is not limited to the US – you can find news articles from around the globe with the same basic story: it pays to steal and resell certain commodities, and cooper is one of them. This story from Putnam County, Florida is a great example, although for one suspected perpetrator, he got more than he bargained for.

Sheriff’s deputies met with a Florida Power & Light employee at a Hawthorne power substation to investigate a theft of copper wire, according to a news release from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The thieves left evidence at the scene: one of their own. The suspected thief was found electrically shocked and severely burned.

After his Close Call, Burglar did Talk

Investigators later questioned and then arrested two suspected accomplices, Joshua Eric Jade Keen and James Clifford Cole, on felony larceny and burglary charges. Additional arrests are anticipated. The electric shock victim was transported to Shands in Gainesville and no further information concerning his condition is available, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Not surprising the injured man gave them up – he must have been thrilled that they left him at the scene of the crime.

New Organization Springs to Life

While researching cooper theft, I found this recent article on the phenomenon.

The Coalition Against Copper Theft is a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group made up of some of America’s leading trade associations concerned with the widespread outbreak of copper theft. The Coalition is dedicated to the passage of federal legislation in order to curb the rising tide of this crime that jeopardizes our nation’s critical infrastructure.

Copper theft is a pervasive, opportunistic crime targeting transportation, communication and electricity networks. Since commodity prices for copper have more than doubled in the past two years, the theft of copper from telephone lines, electrical substations, highway infrastructure and residential homes has grown exponentially. A conservative estimate by the Department of Energy indicates copper wire theft costs this nation almost $1 billion per year. More importantly is the human cost with a clear and definitive link between stealing copper and illegal drug use, primarily methamphetamines.

Wow: that’s a lot of stolen copper. And notice the tie-in connecting theft to drug use – something I just blogged about last week.

This Bay Area Burglar was Not so Lucky

An Antioch, California homeowner who shot and killed a man in one of his vacant properties Saturday may have interrupted a burglary, police said. Police were called to the home on West 17th Street at around 2:45 p.m., according to Sgt. Steve Bias. The homeowner was found in the home with the dead man. Bias said it appears the man interrupted a burglar in the home, and shot him after he was threatened.

Burglars Kept Coming Back

The home has been burglarized several times, and at the time of the shooting it appeared that copper piping and wires were being removed from the home, according to police. The homeowner has not been placed under arrest and is cooperating fully with the investigation, Bias said.

Wireless alarm systems have revolutionized the home building industry, making it much easier to protect work sites and homes under construction. Both wireless sensors and cellular monitoring allow these systems to work without a phone line anywhere there’s a cell signal, and they’re as mobile as they are flexible. In fact, FrontPoint protects a large number of construction sites and vacant homes from copper theft: these burglars are after copper pipe, copper tubing used in air conditioning units, and even copper gutters.

You can have the same level of advanced protection in your home, where the very best deterrent to intrusion is a monitored home alarm system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive features. FrontPoint specializes in these systems: as the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US, that’s what people know us for. And we do it better than anyone, with technology that is safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. When copper thieves see the FrontPoint sign in your yard, they’ll look for easier pickings elsewhere.

Comments (4)

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  1. Alan

    These copper thefts seem especially frustrating because they cause so much more damage than the relative pittance the raw copper gets the thieves. Such a waste of resources.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are absolutely right. Of course, the burglars are never going to look at it that way…

  2. Alan

    These copper thefts seem especially frustrating because they cause so much more damage than the relative pittance the raw copper gets the thieves. Such a waste of resources.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are absolutely right. Of course, the burglars are never going to look at it that way…