Stillwater News Press

Local News

September 14, 2012

High copper prices tempt area thieves

STILLWATER, Okla. — High copper prices are proving too tempting for some. Stillwater police records show 43 incidents of copper theft so far this year.

Nearly all of the reported incidents involved copper stolen from air conditioning units, records show.

Payne County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Kevin Woodward said thieves are after the copper tubing, fins or coils used in the units.

Woodward said scrapping copper from an air conditioning unit could net someone $40 to $60 but leave the unit destroyed.

 Woodward said that incidents of copper theft tend to rise and fall with the rise in the price of copper, which an employee at Recyclers of Oklahoma said fluctuates between $2 and $3.20 per pound.

Police Capt. Randy Dickerson said some residents — especially in Oklahoma City and Tulsa — have begun putting their air conditioning units in steel cages to discourage theft. Dickerson said Stillwater police have been working with the recycling industry to require identification from persons trying to sell copper.

 Woodward said the Sheriff’s Department is seeing a decrease in the thefts now that many scrap yards are registering everyone who comes in.

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