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Copper pipe thefts plague city and county alike

March 08, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Copper pipe theft, a problem that has plagued Hagerstown, also is keeping the Washington County Sheriff's Office busy, an officer said Tuesday.

Most of the copper thefts in the county are occurring in vacant houses that are in foreclosure or up for sale, said Lt. Mark Knight of the sheriff's office.

Knight said he believes the people who are stealing the copper are targeting homes by riding around and finding homes with for sale or foreclosure signs out front.

For some people, targeting homes with copper that is worth up to $3.60 per pound at local scrap yards is apparently preferable to getting a job, Knight said.

"We're making progress; it's just that there's so many people doing it. We got at least 12 cases," Knight said.

The sheriff's office reported two more copper thefts in a news release Tuesday that offered a rundown of recent incidents being handled by the department.

The first copper theft occurred when someone broke into a vacant house in the 19700 block of Leitersburg Pike, Knight said.

Copper pipe was cut or broken in a basement of the home, Knight said.

Between Friday and Saturday, thieves entered the property at Otts Horticulture at 21223 Twin Springs Drive, where two old barns are situated, and stole 30 feet of copper pipe, Knight said.

The Hagerstown Police Department has handled more than 25 copper thefts and is actively working with the sheriff's office to investigate the thefts, Capt. Mark Holtzman said Tuesday.

Hagerstown police said previously they are seeking the public's help in solving the crimes and are asking people to be watchful of suspicious activity around homes in their neighborhoods.

Anyone seeing suspicious activity is asked to report it by calling 911.

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