Help shut down copper thieves
offers tips to protect against would-be scrap metal thieves
Texas - August 11, 2011
— Copper thieves can wreak havoc on a home or business, dismantling air
conditioning units, plumbing and more in hopes of getting scrap to sell. With
the cost of scrap metal increasing, Better
Business Bureau warns consumers and business owners to take precautions.
thieves have cost residents and businesses thousands of dollars and created an
additional challenge for law enforcement, since stolen scrap metal is difficult
problem has become so rampant in Texas, the Legislature considered seven separate
bills concerning copper theft in the 2011 Legislative Session. In 2007, the
state began to require scrap metal dealers to register with the Texas
Department of Public Safety.
Brown with the Austin Police Department said copper thieves are difficult to
stop because they choose easy targets, like unsecured air conditioning units.
easy because sometimes they’ll do it during the day and people think, ‘well
it’s just somebody working there,’” he said.
to be on the lookout for people near air conditioning units who have no
identification or uniform.
hesitate to call the police,” he said. “If you’re wrong, it’s OK. It’s no big
deal. Just call and they can get somebody out there.”
the following tips to avoid being victimized:
· Secure items where possible. Keep
mobile items thieves could pilfer inside. For larger targets, like air
conditioning units, keep the area fenced in and the fences locked.
· Make it difficult for thieves. Move
dumpsters and ladders away from buildings to make it difficult for thieves to
reach rooftop refrigeration units. Clear ground-level air conditioning
equipment of underbrush so others can spot people attempting to work around the
· Invest in security.
Add motion sensing or continuous outdoor lighting around air conditioning
units. Businesses should try to have someone on site at night to watch for
· Start a neighborhood watch. Get
to know your neighbors and ask them to help keep watch. Never assume the
person working on the neighbor’s air conditioner or gutters is a
repairman. Check with the neighbors, then call the police.
· Mark materials. If
materials are stolen, the best chance of identifying them is to make them stand
out from other similar material that might come to a recycler
legitimately. Marking items with bright paint, and etching an
identification number at various places can make materials stand out.
the reliability of a company and find
trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
About Better Business
BBB's mission is to
be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by
creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for
marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating
marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBB
Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high
standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn
to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.
Contact BBB serving
Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.