Over the long holiday weekend a friend of mine who lives in a very nice house in a very nice Yonkers neighborhood told me a story of an audacious crime: The copper leaders and gutters on her very nice house were stripped clean from their bearings.
The thief performed this noisy operation while she and her husband were at home, asleep in bed. The racket woke them up, but they were unable to react quickly enough to catch the culprit who somehow managed to get away on a bicycle with the stolen metal in hand. They called 911, which was a waste of time.
When I heard about this, I figured the bad guy was a desperate drug addict whose aim was sell the copper to a scrap dealer. Apparently that’s what the cops told my astonished friends.
Stealing copper fixtures was a criminal trend back in the 80s when crack cocaine first came on the scene. Well, with the price of copper going up, largely due to an overwhelming demand for the metal from economically-surging nations like China, it appears that the trend has returned. According to some reports I’ve read, copper theft is a big law enforcement problem, but usually it’s a scavanging act carried out in abandoned buidlings or in houses under construction.
That it happened in an occupied model home while the owners were inside– as in the case of my friends– should tell us something about the current suburban crime index. It was brazen indeed, it indicates the lengths some miscreants will go when copper can be sold for scrap at two dollars a pound.