Police need your help to halt copper criminals

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Greenville Police Department wants citizens to be on the lookout for copper thieves.

“People need to know this is a problem,” said Lieutenant Justin Lovvorn. “We are having some type of copper theft every other day in some form or fashion.”

Lovvorn said they are making arrests, but are having trouble keeping up with the case load.

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“It’s so prevalent-it’s not just one or two people doing it,” Lovvorn said. “And the ones we are putting in jail aren’t staying there that long.”

Abandoned houses or fenced in vacant lots are common fodder for such criminals, Lovvorn said.

“They will scout them out, then break in, not always at night, and get up into the attic,” Lovvorn said. “They will pull out all the wiring in the house and burn the insulation off to sell the copper at recycling businesses.”

Air-conditioning units are also popular targets, Lovvorn said.

Police say they need the city’s help to put an end to the spree of thefts.

“If you see anyone that looks out of place, whether they are doing something or not, give us a call,” Lovvorn said. “If we go out there only to find out the person has a legitimate reason to be there, I am sure they would be grateful to know someone is keeping an eye on their property.”

This can help stop the would-be burglar before the copper ends up at a recycling center, which is another aspect of this problem, Lovvorn said.

“These recycling businesses are supposed to record people that sell them copper and keep a copy of their identification,” Lovvorn said. “We have had a few instances where we have caught some of these businesses not logging transactions properly.”

Persons wishing to provide information can contact Lovvorn at the Greenville Police Department by calling 382-2647 to report an anonymous tip.