Richmond Police say copper and aluminum thefts are on the rise, and now they are trying to help people prevent becoming victims. Police say for the past several months, numerous thefts and burglaries have been reported as thieves to get their hands on anything that can be sold for scrap metal.
This includes telephone wires, pipes used for plumbing, aluminum siding and gutters, copper downspouts, air conditioner coils, and catalytic converters from automobiles.
Don Foster Realty is a business that was most recently hit by copper thieves in the city.Police say sometime during the nighttime hours Wednesday, thieves removed the cover to an air conditioning unit and started cutting the copper coils from inside the unit. The thieves caused an estimated $2700.00 in damage.
Below are steps police say you can take as a homeowner or business owner to help prevent these costly thefts:
1. Place air conditioner units on an elevated platform that requires a ladder to access it, chain it down, fence it in or cover it with a metal cage. Consider using cameras or other prevention methods to deter thieves.
2. Make repairs using PVC or similar available products.
3. If you own rental property and it becomes vacant, check on it on a regular basis. Many houses that sit unoccupied for long periods of time become easy targets.
4. At construction sites, minimize time that materials are left unattended.
5. Arrange to have materials and appliances delivered and installed on the same day.
6. Make sure you property has sufficient lighting at night. For businesses, install cameras, motion detectors, and fencing.
7. As part of your hiring process, consider doing background checks on all applicants.
8. Develop an inventory sheet for equipment and materials at a jobsite and conduct periodic inventories during construction.
9. Inform law enforcement about construction sites and provide after hours contact information.
10. Park vehicles in well lit and well traveled areas when possible. Many catalytic converter thefts occur in remote areas of large parking lots at businesses, hospitals, offices and factories during the daytime.
Police say to call them if you observe any suspicious behavior around construction sites, vacant houses, office buildings or vehicles in parking lots. They also ask people to report any suspicious activity to the Richmond Police Department at 859-623-8911.