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Copper pipe thefts still a problem

January 30, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Theft of copper pipe from properties continues to be a problem in Hagerstown and a Hagerstown Police Department spokesman is asking for the public’s help in solving the crimes.

On Dec. 6, Hagerstown Police said copper pipe was stolen from 15 to 20 homes in the city.

Now there have been 26 copper thefts in the city and like some of the previous cases, the recent ones have resulted in water damage because people breaking into the properties did not turn off water service before cutting pipes, said Capt. Mark Holtzman.

Some of the recent copper pipe thefts include one that occurred Jan. 18 in the 700 block of Summit Avenue, two that occurred in the 700 block of Guilford Avenue on Jan. 20 and 22, and one that occurred on Wakefield Road on Jan. 22, according to city police.

Holtzman said his department has some leads in its investigation, but he said the probe would be greatly enhanced if the community helps.

Holtzman is asking people to be watchful of suspicious activity around homes and report it to authorities. Many of the copper thefts are occurring in vacant properties, Holtzman said.

It might be a “phone call in the night” to 911 that helps the investigation, Holtzman said.

“Don’t feel like you’re bothering the police. We need your help,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman said he believes the copper thefts are occurring in the night.

About the same amount of copper pipe is being stolen in each incident, said Holtzman, adding that the thieves are stealing whatever copper pipe they can get in ceilings, walls and basements.

If possible, Holtzman is encouraging property owners to cut off water service to homes to cut down on possible damage from the thefts.

Copper is worth about $3.50 per pound at one local scrap yard.

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