Thorough thieves strip Fayetteville apartments of copper pipe
Posted December 7, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Fayetteville police are puzzling over the thorough thieves who went to great lengths to strip an unfinished apartment complex of more than a half-mile of copper pipe.
Police said the metal was stolen from West Park Apartments on Raeford Road, a three-floor, 48-unit apartment complex under construction. The thieves went floor by floor, apartment by apartment over the weekend to pull out copper pipes snaking their way to air conditioners and water heaters, police spokesman Gavin MacRoberts said Wednesday.
The lost pipe and building damage is estimated to cost developer Caviness and Cates about $25,000, said Chief Executive Bill Nye.
Copper thefts have been a growing problem for Fayetteville because copper prices have gone up, MacRoberts said, to about $3.50 a pound. Typically, the thieves sell the copper at salvage shops, but Nye said those facilities should be cracking down on people who bring in copper that's obviously been stolen.
"If I come in with an old, short piece, that's clearly scrap, but if I come in with a run of 10 or 20 or 30 feet, that's clearly stolen copper," he said. "We need these facilities to say no to this and then notify authorities when it happens."
MacRoberts said that most local salvage companies are vigilant.
"A lot of places are on board with helping us out," he said. "They'll take photos. They'll take driver's licenses. They'll take pictures of the copper when it comes in."
West Park now has security patrolling the premises around the clock, Nye said.
"If (thieves) decide to go out to West Park Apartments in search of copper, I think they're going to be sadly mistaken," he said.
The theft is still under investigation, and police say they have not identified any suspects.