Copper thieves strike again

Thursday, June 19th 2008, 2:40 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Okla. -- Copper thefts continue to hurt businesses all over the metro. This time thieves hit up three spots in Edmond. This time they're taking something a little different.

Normally we hear about thieves targeting air conditioning units for the copper coils. Now, they're after something smaller, that's not even worth that much money.

The phone rings all day long at the Masters Touch Salon, but just a few days ago that wasn't the case at all.

"We couldn't receive calls, we couldn't make calls, we couldn't use our credit card machine," Masters Touch Salon owner Becky Clinton said.

Around noon in broad daylight, someone cut and stole the salon's phone lines. They were after the copper wire, to sell for quick cash.

"I can't believe they stole the phone lines off the back of the building because there's not much copper, you know, in the phone lines," Clinton said.

The thieves hit the salon, PETCO and Tuesday Morning and ripped off a telephone poll. Altogether, they got about 160 feet of copper wire.

"This is the first time we've seen something like this and we hope it's going to be the last," Glynda Chu with the Edmond police said. "Not very productive for the thieves and tremendously destructive for the people on the other end."

Metal Check Recycling Center buys scrap metal, and would pay about $25 for the copper. Metal Check would not by anything stolen.

"It's a horrible feeling when you've been violated like that," Metal Check owner Diana Salazar said. "We just want to do business the right way; it's the only way to do it."

The business requires an ID, a phone number and information about where the copper came from. Bring in something suspicious, and they'll likely call police.

Clinton says there's a much better way to make a living.

"Do it the legitimate way, get a job, maybe get a second job, work more hours, something like that," she said.

Edmond police are looking into the recent thefts. They're hopeful whoever took the wire realizes, they can't get much money for it and it's not worth the trouble.

A new state law goes into effect next month which will make it harder to sell copper to recycling centers.