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Thieves are stripping churches of valuable metals at the rate of more than one church a day to cash in on scrap prices kept high by heavy demand from China.
Ecclesiastical Insurance has received 500 claims in the past 14 months, totalling £750,000. Many are for repeated thefts from the same churches.
Since 2005, thefts of lead have trebled and copper thefts have multiplied by 10, Ecclesiastical said.
Criminals have stripped entire church roofs, stolen bells, and ripped lightning conductors from spires by tying them to trucks and driving away, wrecking historic masonry.
Recycling firms pay about £900 a tonne for lead and £2,700 a tonne for copper.
Dozens of 150-pound manhole covers stolen in Long Beach are apparently being taken to recyclers by metal thieves.
About 50 of the cast-iron lids have been stolen in the past eight months, 17 of them last week.
Long Beach Water Department spokesman Ryan Alsop says the thefts are apparently the work of a team. The 20- to 24-inch wide manhole covers fetch about $10 apiece when sold to metal recycling companies.
Two motorists whose cars were damaged when they hit an open manhole have filed claims with the city.
Metal thieves steal submersible spotlights from Saginaw fountain
by Jean Spenner and Sue White | The Saginaw News
Friday May 09, 2008, 9:01 PM
While city and state lawmakers look for ways to put teeth into laws against stealing metal and selling it for scrap, thieves wrenched out 12 submersible spotlights from a lighted fountain at the center of the Andersen Enrichment Center's rose garden.
"These light fixtures are made of some kind of metal. We think it's copper," said Lisa Hall, manager at the center, 120 Ezra Rust in Saginaw, adding that the thieves struck between May 2 and early this week.
The metal, and the price it brings when sold for scrap, most likely was the attraction, she said. A light also is gone from a smaller fountain in front of the center, Hall said. It is unclear when that light disappeared.
In all the miles of roadway in this state, and all the jokes about them, no one saw this coming.
Unfortunately for state and local officials, no one saw anything going, either, and that makes this a bit of a mystery, as well as a madcap moment in the movie comedy starring the state of New Jersey.
The mystery involves guardrails. Several miles of them. The aluminum rails have been disappearing in the dead of night on such heavily traveled highways as I-80, I-78 and State Routes 46 and 19.
The disappearances, which were first reported on Wednesday in The Record of Hackensack, have been noted from Paterson to Irvington. Aluminum facing has been painstakingly removed and the bolts holding it to posts sawed off, leaving stretches of stumplike posts lining the roads.
The man investigators say is responsible for starting a fire at an abandoned casino is fighting for his life. Authorities say he started the fire while he was trying to steal copper from the building. It happened at about 7:00 p.m. Monday night at the old Key Largo Casino on Flamingo near Paradise.
The suspect may not make it. He's still in critical conditions with burns to over 80-percent of his body. Fire officials say this is proof that not only is stealing copper a crime, but it's also dangerous too.
Scott Allison with Clark County Fire says the suspect came with his tools and equipment primed and ready. He broke into the Key Largo and tried to steal the copper wiring out of the power box. What he didn't know was that the power was still on.
WHITESBORO, Tex. -- Another copper theft has been reported north of Whitesboro at Sandusky and Brumlowe Road. This time, it cost Union Pacific Railroad about $5,000.
Someone stole several wooden spools of the copper wire, took the wiring, and dumped the spools.
The railroad estimates it was a total of more than 3,500 feet of copper, which can sell for around $4 per pound.
Two men were charged Friday in connection with a burglary in the 300 block of North Sixth Street, St. Charles police said. Mario Gomez, 33, of Elmwood, was charged with felony theft, attempted burglary, burglary and felony criminal damage to property after he was caught stealing transformers, copper and scrap metal from the property by an undercover officer who had posed as a security guard, police said.
Gomez was arrested when he returned to the property for more scrap metal, police said.
Originally posted by Country Soul
The scrap dealers should be held accountable just like pawn shops.
They should keep a record of what comes in and ID people that bring in things like magnesium or aluminum car rims and stuff that is obviously stolen. People even take catalytic converters off cars around hear.
The profits are too good for scrap dealers to care right now, and there are very few laws to stop them from buying from anyone that drags a few pounds of metal into the yard.
I have several neighbors that collect scrap on a regular basis and one drags home any air conditioner she can. When she takes them apart she bleeds all the freon into the air when she cuts the lines to get the copper.