Copper theft continues to annoy residents and business owners alike, costing thousands in replacement pipes and damaged plumbing, among others. This is why the capture of a thief, allegedly responsible for a string of copper thefts, was a rather big story for East Bridgewater, MA. Joseph Markman of The Enterprise reports:

“At least five vacant or foreclosed homes and several commercial properties have been broken into over the past month in Hanson, West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater and Middleboro, police said. Copper pipes have been cut and removed from the basements of the homes.”

Compared to gold and silver jewelry, which any homeowner would be smart enough to keep out of sight, copper pipes are much easier to steal. Window-type air conditioners often have copper pipes for refrigerant coils. In a number of homes, copper plumbing still runs across the structure, providing clean water and ejecting wastewater.

police say arrest could be key to copper theft investigation

Copper thieves usually target vacant and foreclosed homes, as per the report. However, occupied homes and buildings are just as vulnerable. At around $2.00 per pound, copper is easy money.

“Copper sells at area recycling yards for $2 to $2.20 per pound, according to police. In these break-ins, as much as 20 to 30 pounds of copper has been stolen.”

To prevent copper pipes from vanishing all of a sudden, especially when it comes to residential Austin plumbing, experts advise taking the following precautions:

Paint It Black

Copper can be painted over with any color. Painting it black, says experts, can prevent thieves from instantly locating copper pipes in your home. It won’t cost you much; all you need is a can of black spray paint or two. After all, you only need to color visible areas of the copper plumbing.

Buy What You Need

As much as possible, avoid buying surplus copper pipes in case you need a replacement. Luckily, trusted Austin plumbing contractors like Pure Plumbing Service have ready supplies and can report on short notice. Even if you store extra copper pipes out of sight, they may still be vulnerable to thieves.

Switch to Others

Plastic piping such as cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) costs far less per pound than metals like copper. Thieves won’t bother stealing plastic piping because, at less than $0.50 per foot, they’re not worth the effort. Plastic pipes are also easy to install; just find the right fixture to attach the pipe to restore functionality.

(Source: “Police say arrest could be key to copper theft investigation,” The Enterprise, May 5, 2014)

Categories: Industry News   |  Posted on   |   Posted by: Mark

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