I've heard about thieves here in Lincoln comma Nebraska stealing copper wiring from cell phone towers, but hadn't heard about them actually living in foreclosed / vacant / listed homes for a few days to get the copper pipes, sinks, electrical wiring, et cetera. At $3 a pound, it makes sense. Apparently the best crews make $20k a month.
"It's an international problem with local repercussions. From the theft of large copper statues in England, to millions of dollars of missing copper in post-Katrina New Orleans, to a $300,000 copper heist from the irrigation system of an Arizona farm, the thieves have caused financial havoc.
In Minnesota, scavengers have dismembered a copper-coated Buddha, stolen statues from Theodore Wirth Park, snatched plates off of graves and stripped warehouses and construction sites of tens of thousands of dollars worth of the precious metal."
Grave markers? That's classy. But I wonder, too--what about gardens? What about my 100% copper trellis, obelisk, rain gauge, and fountain? I love copper in the garden, but will I wake up one day to find nothing left but morning glory and clematis vines dementedly wagging in the breeze?
Metal scrap shops have installed video cameras and signs in an attempt to make transactees more honest, and / or to aid in police investigations. I imagine it's in their best interest, too, as far as a bottom line--that copper will be bagged and tagged for the cops if it's ill gotten, and they'd be out some benjamins (that's right, "ill gotten" and "benjamins" in the same sentence).