Thieves take restaurant's copper wire

Friday, May 30th 2008, 9:47 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

BETHANY, Okla. -- A Bethany landmark is the latest victim of thieves. Overnight, someone stole copper wire from a local restaurant.

The lunch crowd at Jim's Restaurant is a little steamy. At noon, the temperature hits 86 degrees inside.

The air conditioner is now broken, but because someone stole part of it.

"This isn't a corporate business, it's a small, family owned business," Jim's Restaurant Manager, Linda Houser said. "You're kind of striking at the heart of what's really Oklahoma."

It appears as if the thieves cut outside copper wires and then took most of the wire and stole three air conditioning units. They left this fourth one behind.  

Stealing copper wire is a crime David DeLong, with DeLong Heating and Air Conditioning, repairs often.

"It's rampant," DeLong said. "I've got another church on May Avenue that lost four, seven and a half ton units last week, it's very common now."

It will cost $20 thousand to turn the air back on. That won't cool down customers who are hot about the crime.

"I'm sick and tired of people stealing things," customer Fred Ellis said. "There's other ways to get money, like work."

Police plan to beef up patrols, to catch the lawbreakers.

"We'll be keeping an extra eye especially in our business districts here in Bethany and trying to keep an eye on those particular type of large units," Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole said.

The restaurant is also taking security into its own hands as the new units are installed.

Investigators are looking for fingerprints on a pair of vice grips the thieves left behind. Police also asked scrap metal recycling shops to call if they see the restaurant's copper wire.