States are cracking down on copper theft

Published: Apr. 18, 2014 at 12:47 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2014 at 12:48 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - You have heard it before, and you may have been a victim to it - copper theft. Thieves stealing copper from refrigerators, irrigation systems, and even your home AC units.

Now, four states - Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana - have come together to crackdown on these 'copper heads'. Kurt Wall of the Louisiana Attorney General's office said the clamor for copper has to be dealt with.

"There is so much damage done in the retrieval of those products. In other words if someone goes into a house that is under construction they may do 10 to 20 thousand dollars' worth of damage to retrieve maybe 200,300 dollars' worth of recyclable metals," said Wall.

Wall explained that the four states will work to come up with a similar legislation, so someone will not be able to steal copper from one state and try to sell in another.

According to the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana had 44 copper thefts reported in 2009. In 2010, there were 125 copper theft incidents, and it skyrocketed to nearly 200 reported thefts in 2011.

Wall said in the past it was hard to catch thieves because of their ability to exchange copper for cash. Now, with the cooperation of the recycling industry, tracking people down have become a lot easier.

But, he warns people that copper bandits have gotten pretty creative.

"There have been reports where thieves have actually followed energy trucks around and stolen spools of copper," said Wall.

If you have been a victim of copper theft please contact your local law enforcement.

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