Copper thieves ransacked a former manufacturing facility twice in the last week, ripping out wiring and pipes resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in damage and losses.
On Sept. 4, the caretaker of the vacant industrial property found that someone had cut electricity to the building and apparently spent considerable time removing copper electrical and plumbing components, said police Sgt. Dave Waugh. The building at 2809 S. Interstate 35 was formerly occupied by Bison Building Material, which manufactured roof trusses.
Then on Monday, the manager arrived with an electrician to evaluate destruction from last week’s break-in and found further damage, Waugh said. The suspects, apparently leaving in a hurry or intending to return, left behind two bags of tools and a bag of narcotics, Waugh said. Police, including a canine unit, sealed the property’s perimeter and searched the building but no one was arrested.
Down from a high of more of $4 per pound this summer, scrap copper prices in the United States averaged about $2.66 a pound yesterday on the New York Merchantile Exchange commodities markets.
Surges in scrap metal prices set off a rash of metal thefts locally in recent years. In 2006, thieves stole dozens of brozes vases from gravesites at the Memory Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Martindale.