Thieves hit homes for copper tubing & wiring

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A crime alert out of Chesterfield County. Thieves want to cash in on metal found in your home. Within the last week, more than half a dozen homes have been stripped of copper tubing.

Joan Lyons of Lyon Heating and Plumbing says she literally stopped a copper thief in his tracks.

"We stopped a man who was stealing a new air conditioning unit. And had already loaded it on his truck, then pretended he was at the wrong address," said Lyons.

With a plumbing company 30 years old, the veteran says she can't believe installing copper has become so risky.

"Probably in the last 5 years, with copper prices going up so high it's to the point that we almost don't use copper anymore," she said.

Chesterfield police say in recent weeks, 8 thefts at homes across the county have been reported. Some of the homes are under construction, others are vacant. Thieves will walk right in, or sneak in through a crawl space. Hopewell reports 6 copper heists in the last few weeks. Richmond police say they just nabbed two suspects who confessed to stealing the metal.

In case you were wondering, copper tubing is pretty heavy- 1/6th of a complete coil weighs about 10 pounds and is worth about $20. And usually there are about 3 full coils at a job site, which adds up to hundreds of dollars.

A scrap metal yard tells us tubing runs about $2.50 a pound...Wiring about a $1.20. There aren't any places to sell copper in Chesterfield. If you sell in Richmond- salvage yards take a copy of your photo ID, write down the make model and license plate of your vehicle and take a picture of the person selling the copper.

Chesterfield police warn everyone to watch out for people working around houses after hours. Also- if you live near a construction site or vacant house- watch for suspicious activity. Because police work with scrap yards- always report a copper theft.

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