In Dallas this month, a church moved its service after thieves stole the building's air conditioning units for the copper inside them. In Seguin, Texas, several small business owners had copper tubing stolen from their units. In Hillsboro, Oregon, a small business owner arrived at work to find three of his building's four air conditioning units completely gutted. News stories such as these have also reported similar thefts in Kentucky, North Carolina, Nebraska, Indiana, and South Carolina.
Copper is 100 percent recyclable and selling scrap copper can be lucrative. Recyclers on average pay 90 percent of the new copper price, or more than $3 a pound for scrap, according to the Copper Development Association. Unfortunately, recyclers cannot tell if copper items have been stolen because they don't carry any identifiers. Some business owners are taking precautions by installing cages or fences around their units to deter thefts.
Publication date: 06/26/2006