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The Rise in Copper Theft

As one might expect, when the value of scrap metal increases, so too does the occurrence of copper theft around the world. Approaching 2011 and 2012, prices in copper as a commodity were dramatically increasing. Recent copper prices have appeared relatively steady but certainly remain high enough to draw interest from the copper wire black market.

As a result, copper theft is rampant around the country, with an increase in burglaries of items that people are not ordinarily accustomed to having to protect. Thieves are taking utility wire, copper roofing and gutters, construction materials, railroad signal lines, statues, car parts, and more, in order to be paid for recycling the material at a recycler or scrap yard. According to an article on NPR.org, a copper thief need only take a copper item and “destroy it in such a way that it’s very hard to identify once it gets into a legitimate recycling stream.”

A story that hits close to home for ArtisanCrafted.com, based near Seattle, is the conman who stole 20 tons of copper wire from a local utility, Seattle City Light. What began as a simple request for a copper donation for a charity, resulted in a theft of forty-thousand pounds of valuable copper wire, approximately worth $120,000. In coordination with the authorities, the utility has since recovered the metal, and the suspects were apprehended.

As a result, utilities around the country are ramping up security practices to secure themselves against continued copper theft and scams. Additionally, legitimate recyclers refuse obviously stolen material at their gates, and have revamped the technology of an existing theft alert system that distributes critical theft information to police and the scrap recycling industry.

Thieves aren’t only targeting large, commercial quantities of the non-ferrous metal, however, as neighborhoods and homeowners have similarly been victims of copper theft. As a homeowner, it is a good idea for you to be aware of loitering vans displaying names of repair companies, or activity near foreclosed or abandoned homes.

In the name of your security and privacy, a copper sink shipped to you from CopperSinksOnline.com cannot be identified by its shipping box, and oftentimes requires a signature upon receipt – avoiding the opportunity for it to be left on your doorstep. So, although the frequency of copper burglaries has increased, copper sink customers should not fret that their online purchases are at increased risk for delivery.