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Police: Copper Thieves Targeting Unoccupied Homes

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BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Brazen thieves break into homes to steal copper. Police are on alert after a dozen copper thefts in targeted neighborhoods.

Andrea Fujii has more on this widespread problem.

The thieves are focusing on homes that are for sale or in foreclosure, places where people aren’t living. Then they break in and do some major damage.

The target? Unoccupied homes and businesses. But these brazen thieves aren’t after your prized possessions. They’re taking the copper right out of your walls.

“They are taking copper pipes, they are taking spools of copper, they are taking objects in the home that contain copper,” said Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Police.

Baltimore County Police are investigating a dozen copper thefts scattered throughout the Woodlawn and Pikesville area since Dec. 8. The thieves are targeting homes where no one is currently living. They then take the copper to a scrap dealer and get big bucks.

“The way the economy is and everything and with people without jobs, they get really desperate. They’re doing a lot of things they would not ordinarily do,” said Americus McIver.

Neighbors in the Pikesville community are keeping a lookout for anything suspicious but say this is a sign of the times.

“It’s all over the country and all over the counties now,” said McIver.

Copper thefts are so widespread nationally that the FBI has labeled it a threat to critical infrastructure. Just last month, a North Baltimore neighborhood reported dozens of copper pipes ripped right off the outside of homes.

“It’s an extremely expensive kind of damage many times when people strip copper,” said Armacost.

Now police want to catch these crooks as they get more bold, breaking into homes.

Maryland State Police say there’s also been at least two dozen copper gutter thefts in Montgomery County just this winter.

Baltimore County Police do not have any suspects in this latest spate of copper thefts.

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