Because of the high price of copper, thieves are stealing copper wiring from construction sites, abandoned buildings and even from farms. Copper thieves remove copper from irrigation pivots on farmland and sell the copper wiring worth about $3.00 a pound. They vandalize new construction on homes and buildings, strip the copper, and take it to a recycling company for quick cash.
One group of copper wire criminals recently stole copper from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The police caught three people in this copper wire crime. They charged them with theft of up to $40,000 worth of copper wire. The thieves worked together to take 40 100-pound rolls of extension cords between July 19 and July 21st.
They were caught because Minnesota passed a new state law that required recyclers to trace the sales of all scrap metal. The thieves took the stolen copper wiring to Northern Metal Recycling of St. Paul. The recycler provided police with videotapes of their transactions and said that these same three people received over $1,000 for at least 344 pounds of the metal around the time of the crime.
This type of crime also causes thousands of dollars of damage through break-ins during the crime as well as during removal of the copper. Homeowners and farmers have to pay additional cost to replace the stolen copper.