SPD investigates copper wire thefts; offers prevention tips

Monique Cotton, Public Information & Communication Director, 509.363.8285

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Incident #: 14-050884; 14-43196; 14-44066; 14-048986

Spokane Police detectives are investigating several reports of commercial burglary incidents where copper wire and other metals were stolen. The most recent incident was reported at the new Target construction site (4900 S. Regal) on Sunday, February 16th. Several wiring harnesses, copper plumbing items, and other copper wires were taken, with reported losses exceeding $13,000.

Other recent reports of commercial burglaries or thefts where copper or other metals have been stolen are as follows:

  • On February 10th a theft was reported at a business in the 500 block of W. Francis. Electrical and plumbing supply lines to HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units were stolen. Additionally, interior metal plumbing and electrical wires were stolen.
  • On February 11th a theft was reported at a community center in the 1800 block of W. Maxwell Ave. The report indicated that the air conditioner was stolen from behind the building.
  • On February 14th a theft was reported at a business in the 2700 block of E. Sprague. The report indicated that the outdoor air conditioning unit had been cut open and all of the copper pipes had been stolen.

Spokane Police are investigating each of these incidents. Although Property Crime in the City of Spokane is down nearly 10% when compared to last year, Spokane Police would like to offer some tips to help citizens avoid becoming the victim of a metal theft.

  • Secure all equipment and scrap metals in locked buildings or in well lighted areas secured by fencing.
  • If possible, use a perimeter security system with contact alarms or motion detectors, or install a perimeter fence with approved wiring with locked gates.
  • Post “No Trespassing” signs in highly visible areas, indicating a presence of crime prevention programs, surveillance, or a security system.
  • Remove access to your buildings and roofs, such as by trees, ladders, scaffolding, dumpsters and accumulated materials such as pallet piles.
  • Secure all building access with deadbolts, door and window locks.
  • Increase exterior lighting and protect fixtures (such as air conditioning units) with locked metal cages.
  • Use concrete or other protective covers for grounding wire.
  • Ensure that perimeter fencing is cut resistant.
  • Mark metals with your company’s name using paint, hard-to-remove decals or engraving equipment.

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