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Two copper thefts in one week in Richmond neighborhood

People who live along the 1100 block of West Main Street in Richmond say it's a good community that rarely has problems, but twice in the past week, copper thieves have left their mark.

"I think it's frightening. It being this close and just unexpected," says Margaret Clay.

Clay says two recent cases of copper theft have made her feel uneasy living here. On Monday, a man showing a vacant house across the street to a potential renter stumbled upon someone inside cutting copper from the wall. Police say he ran the robber off. That's when Clay's grandson, Alex Utter noticed the commotion.

"If you see a neighbor who needs help, you're just kind of obligated to help them," he says.

Alex says he and the homeowner chased the suspected thief until they got a bag away from him, then he got away. His grandmother says she's not surprised he stepped in.

"That's the type of person he is. I knew he would do that," she says.

Just two days later, the owner of a vacant house across the street told police someone had ripped copper wiring from the basement and walls throughout the house. Police say the damage and stolen copper amount to about ten thousand dollars. Alex says he hopes these thieves stop soon.

"It's terrible, I mean, my grandma lives here. I have to go to class so I might not be here to protect her if my grandma...I mean...She's a grandma! She needs someone here," he says.

Alex says the person who owns the home where he chased the thief has taken down the "for rent" sign to make it less inviting to thieves. Police believe the thief is a white male, between 37 and 45 years old, and weighs 170 to 180 pounds. He was seen in a red and plaid jacket and a dark ball cap with shoulder-length dark hair.

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