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Price of Copper Attracts Sioux Falls Thieves



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Copper is selling for more than $2 per pound, and in some cases, that's attracting criminals.

Sioux Falls police are investigating a case where several pounds of copper wire were stolen from a business.

Piles of coppers coils are scattered around the scrap metal shop, but it's not scrap to everyone.

"It was a huge thing because copper was very, very expensive," said Sergeant Bob Harrison.

The shiny copper pipe is eye catching, but police say, it's catching the eye of thieves.

"What they do is they steal large amounts of copper wire. They burn the casing off the end, and then they sell for salvage scrap," said Sgt. Harrison.
     
A short piece of copper wire weighs 3 pounds, so a person could get $7 for it.  That's why employees at the scrap metal shop say, they are not surprised that many thieves are wanting to get their hands on it.

"No, not a bit.  As a matter of fact, it's probably getting worse now because the economy hasn't improved as much.  People without jobs are running tighter on making ends meet at home, so they try to subsidize it an easy way," said Ron Nedved of Unit Can, a scrap metal company in Sioux Falls.

As metal prices tip the scale, people are looking to cash in.
 
"Thieves are greedy, they will try to do anything to get the most money out of it," said Nedved.
 
But the owner of the Unit Can scrap metal shop is looking for red flags that the metal might be stolen.  Nedved has this message for thieves.  

"If there's a way we can do it, we will put you in jail. I don't want you in our business, you are a drain on society, you cost me money, you cost everybody money," said Nedved.
     
In an effort to stop the stealing, Unit Can gets an I.D. from every customer, but police say, that doesn't always deter those determined to make a profit. 

According to police, it's hard to identify where the wire originates.

m_payne@kdlt.com
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