Wiry Thieves Strike The South Plains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/25/07

Wiry Thieves Strike The South Plains

Theft is costing a Lubbock business and local school around $13,000, but you might be surprised at what was stolen.  NewsChannel 11 is uncovering a growing crime on the South Plains.

"Right now, we're having a big problem with the theft of all types of recyclable metal," L.P.D. Sgt. Mark Wims said. 

Tuesday morning, investigators learned of two more targets.

Someone ignored the no trespassing signs at Terra Vista Middle School, taking thousands of feet of electrical wire, and hundreds of feet of copper pipe, for a total loss of around $3,100.

Thieves also hit Sun-Star Electric, taking a large spool of special cable, costing around $10,000. The spool had about 1,200 feet of cable, and as you can imagine, that's pretty heavy.

"They actually look like they unloaded a small tractor," Sgt. Wims said. 

At the shopping center at 4th and University thieves broke into several air conditioning units just to steal the copper wiring from inside.  It's where Hastings was just recently hit. Someone got on top of their roof, damaged seven to eight air conditioners, which will cost the business around $60,000 to repair.

"They'll steal anything they can, from guide wires, to telephone cables, copper tubing, from new construction homes. Any place that has accessible copper or aluminum," Sgt. Wims said. 

Some thieves will even go as far as taking electrified lines, like the thief caught on camera at a construction site last May.

"It's an everyday occurrence," Sgt. Wims said. 

The high cost of scrap metal is driving this crime. Right now copper is worth nearly $4.00 a pound, but now police have some help finding these wire thieves.

"We have a new law passed in September that requires identification and vehicle information recorded on people that are selling the scrap metal in any quantity, prior to September 1st, it was a certain poundage," Sgt. Wims said. 

Still, folks have to do their part, by making sure things are secure.  Sgt. Wims gave us some tips to help secure your site.

  • First, keep valuable copper and aluminum as far away from the fence as possible.
  • Try to schedule their delivery as close to install as possible, and
  • Once things are in place, be ready to secure new construction with doors and windows.

A good surveillance system is also encouraged.

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