Investigator: Augusta is front-runner for scrap metal thefts - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Investigator: Augusta is front-runner for scrap metal thefts

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

DaCara Brown is one of the latest victims to copper theft.
 
"We came in. It was very HOT in the building," Brown said. "We turned on the air, and there was no air."
 
A maintenance man walked Brown to the air conditioners cooling the building. He told her the copper ring was stolen from the machines.
 
"We were quite shocked. Not so much that the copper was stolen because that's kind of common in this area, and actually now because coppers are premium, which I hate because we have to replace it."
 
It's going to cost $3,500 to fix Brown's two AC units, all so that the robbers could get a couple hundred bucks from the copper they stole.
 
"We're the hub for recycling industry in this general area," said Investigator Kendall Brown with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
 
Richmond County investigators say Augusta is the "front-runner" of scrap metal thefts because of all the scrap yards and recycling centers in the area. Right now, copper can be recycled for $2 to $3-a-pound, making it a hot item to get a hold of.
 
Just this week two men were arrested for stripping copper wire from this home in Hephzibah. Investigators say they tried to sell 200 pounds of copper wire and piping. But recycling centers are working with the Sheriff's Office to combat the problem.
 
"They are our eyes and ears. We work close in hand with them, and over the years, we've been able to address a lot of issues that's been going on different trends," Investigator Brown said. "Majority of the cases I make is because of the scrap yards."
 
There are ways to prevent your property from being a target. Mark your metals with highly visible spray paint. The marks are red flags for recycling centers who will suspect the scrap metal is stolen.
 
Brown is considering surveillance cameras around her property, and sensory monitors by the AC units, hoping to keep thieves away for good.

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