Copper theft epidemic

Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

“Since January, we have had four air conditioning/central air units stolen in El Dorado Springs,” Police Chief Jarrod Schiereck told the Sun Tuesday.

The latest reported theft was the entire air conditioner compressor unit at the El Dorado Springs Missionary Baptist Church which was reported Wednesday, March 27.

The police chief said, “This is a problem statewide. Other agencies I’ve talked to – Highway Patrol rural crimes – say it is a problem in rural areas and in towns of all sizes.”

So what can you do to protect yourself?

“I believe everyone should be aware of what is going on. Neighbors should watch and help out. Be aware of people in the area that aren’t normally there and write down information when you see that: license plate number, model and color of the vehicle and a description of the people in it.”

“On top of that, any owner applied marks on the copper pipe or the compressor would help us make a case. Even if it is broken down and at
a scrap metal buyers place, if we find owner applied marks, that is enough to make our case,” Chief Schiereck said.

He said, “I’m talking about the community as a whole, not only in town, but in the surrounding areas. It just goes back to neighbors being good neighbors – watching each others’ property while they are gone. My neighbors know who generally comes to my house. I know who goes to my neighbor’s house. So if there is some off the wall vehicle shows up, people I don’t recognize, I write down information.”

The chief emphasized, “Number one – don’t be scared to call law enforcement and tell them, ‘There’s something going on over here. You guys might want to check it out. Here’s the information on the vehicle.’ That one time, it may be the people we are hunting for. Around here, if you get a unique vehicle description, someone will recognize it.”

He said, “A problem law enforcement has is that some scrap metal buyers don’t get good identification when they make a purchase. We’ve seen receipts that we couldn’t read and the person who created the receipt couldn’t read it.”

He said the scrap buyers don’t have video equipment and don’t obtain accurate information. Potentially, you have two victims, the police chief said, the person who lost their property and the scrap buyer if the property is taken for evidence.

So, mark your property. Watch out for something strange on your neighbors’ property even in the middle of the day and write down information. Don’t hesitate to call the police or sheriff’s department.