Thieves steal copper pipes and AC units from 24 homes

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond Police are investigating a rash of break-ins in the city's Northside.  The thieves are going after copper piping, air conditioning units and radiators.  They've hit two dozen homes in July.

Police have already made several arrests for these burglaries, including one person, who detectives said may be responsible for multiple incidents.  Some of the thieves are still out there and many homes could still be targets.

One resident had this reaction to the news: "It's frustrating, irritating, aggravating," she said.

In the Richmond Police Department's Fourth Precinct, burglars are finding ways into homes and making off with copper piping from the water lines underneath your sink or near your bath tub, entire air conditioning units and even radiators.  They resell the items or trade them for cash at scrap yards.

This month alone, the Northside has seen 24 incidents of this type of theft.  15 of them have been in North Highland Park and 12 of those were in vacant homes.

Detective John Walker explained how homeowners can protect their property.

"They need to make sure they have the grass cut, keep their hedges trimmed, make the house look lived in," he said.

According to Walker, police have arrested six suspects thanks to watchful neighbors.  But one woman, who asked us not to identify her, said while she doesn't want her home to be a thief's next target, she's too afraid to help police.

"You'll get shot if you snitch out here," she said.  "They'll try to beat you up or they'll try to jump you, anything, while you at the store.  So I'm not gonna stick my nose in that."

Tips to police can be made anonymously.  Detectives said if you see anything suspicious, whether it be a strange car or truck or a person who does not belong in the neighborhood, call them.  Officers would rather clear a complaint than investigate another theft.

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