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  • Stolen Copper

    Went on an estimate today to repipe a rowhouse. A poor elderly woman in a blighted urban area of D.C. sold her house and moved into a nursing home. Someone broke in and stole every piece of copper pipe before the closing date. Now after selling her house for a loss she has to have it repiped before the new owners take possesion. They didn't just take the hot and cold they got the big stuff too...1-1/2" copper heat mains also. Totally destroyed the place doing this. Didn't bother turning the water off or draining the heat system. Every door and window had wrought iron gates and wire mesh. I couldn't figure out how they got in. Found out later they came in and out through the skylight and loaded onto a truck waiting in the ally. How can someone carry 300' of copper through a skylight and across 4 rooftops and no one see or hear a thing?

    BTW scrap copper going for $2.35/lb here

    I've heard stories of this happening but have never seen it first hand. I was sick to my stomach. Anyone else getting ripped off?

  • #2
    Re: Stolen Copper

    This is a huge reason why we use pex here. We just had a 200' roll of 3/0 copper wire stolen off one of our projects. Worst thing is that it happened on a navy base!
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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    • #3
      Re: Stolen Copper

      Originally posted by Plumberscrack
      How can someone carry 300' of copper through a skylight and across 4 rooftops and no one see or hear a thing?
      Once they're in the house, they can open the doors, can't they?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Stolen Copper

        Plumberscrack
        This has happened all over in the Mid Atlantic (I'm sure other areas too) but it's mostly with new construction where someone enters the house and grabs copper/brass and iron pipe and fittings and then runs fast to the junk yard in another county to sell it. With this being through a skylight I have a bad feeling it was the workings of neighbors up to no good. I bet they only made it look like they used the skylight opening. Does the house have a through the wall dryer vent?

        I hope whoever did this ends up getting a good rock salting and in the gems zone at that.


        Gear Junkie - Electrical contractors are having to put attack dogs to use anymore. They tie the dog to the wire reels.
        Last edited by Woussko; 12-13-2007, 08:31 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Stolen Copper

          Originally posted by Herk View Post
          Once they're in the house, they can open the doors, can't they?
          Normally you would think so but not this place. Deadbolts on both sides of gates. Full hieght wire mesh. Like a gun shop. A huge fire code issue but dying in a fire in this neighborhood is the least of your worries. I was wondering how the black water from the heat piping got all over the bathtub. Thats where the skylight was.

          Looks like the big stuff was cut with a sawzall but the smaller stuff was just bent over and twisted apart. Could have been a neighbor. Alot of shifty charactors walking around nearby.

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          • #6
            Re: Stolen Copper

            Originally posted by Woussko View Post
            I hope whoever did this ends up getting a good rock salting and in the gems zone at that.
            I have no idea what this means but it doesn't sound good

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Stolen Copper

              Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
              I have no idea what this means but it doesn't sound good
              Shotgun shells loaded with rock salt is a non lethal way of getting someones attention.

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Stolen Copper

                It's very bad here. A/C units, gutters off churches, powerplants, cell towers, anywhere they know it exists. In the news every single week, made it to a national level on NBC news about 2 weeks ago.

                A new kind of criminal by far.

                Leaving copper on your plumbing rig is not safe by any stretch knowing someone can cut the ties and take it for a fast buck. The problem really starts at the source where they cash it in.

                China is buying up all the raw metals so that's why it's in such high demand.
                Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                • #9
                  Re: Stolen Copper

                  Recycling centers here won't let you recycle copper wire or pipe unless you're an electrical/plumbing contractor and if you're an employee, you must have a letter from your employer allowing you to sell the copper.
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Stolen Copper

                    Las Vegas has had a problem with guys in construction trucks stealing the wire to the lights on the freeways in the middle of the night. They do it while the power is live so some have been electrocuted by the stunt.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Stolen Copper

                      It's happened here too for many years. Copper gutters and downspouts ripped off the old home in the historic district, places broken into when vacant or when no one is home and gutted of copper piping, and leave the water running to boot as you mentioned PC. I worked a job in Camden, NJ where they were tearing the copper out as fast as we put it in during the day. All the contractors got together and hired a security firm because they were breaking into our cars and trucks parked right in front of the job site during broad daylight. Smash a window, grab what ever they could and run.

                      After the third car breakin every one got together and went to the GC and subs and said if you don't do something about this then we are all outta here TODAY. They hired the guards that day.
                      ---------------
                      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                      ---------------
                      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
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                      • #12
                        Re: Stolen Copper

                        Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                        Recycling centers here won't let you recycle copper wire or pipe unless you're an electrical/plumbing contractor and if you're an employee, you must have a letter from your employer allowing you to sell the copper.
                        Are you living in Oz Gear? Working in commercial construction I've seen thousands of dollars in copper stolen over the last five years. It went somewhere. I've been to the recycle yards in my area, and never seen them ask for a contractor's license.
                        the dog

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                        • #13
                          Re: Stolen Copper

                          It happens all the time here in STL, mostly in the older homes when people go to rehab them or the owner passes. I went to one house with the journeyman and the owner passed the week before, they broke in the next night. It is a sad sight to see.

                          Billytwohatz

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                          • #14
                            Re: Stolen Copper

                            It's crazy how hard someone will work at stealing, when an honest weeks work will net a living and keep you out of jail.
                            I think that guy in Texas had it right, just blast them. I bet the B and E's have dropped off a bit in Texas, for a short time anyway.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Stolen Copper

                              Originally posted by plumbdog10 View Post
                              Are you living in Oz Gear? Working in commercial construction I've seen thousands of dollars in copper stolen over the last five years. It went somewhere. I've been to the recycle yards in my area, and never seen them ask for a contractor's license.
                              This is Virginia Beach and I'm sure some stuff slips by unfortunantley. Wait a second, were you implying you live in Virginia Beach?
                              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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