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Copper Thefts Are On The Rise In Council Bluffs

Copper Thefts Are On The Rise In Council Bluffs

By Kimberly Foley. CREATED Apr 2, 2013

Council Bluffs, Iowa --  The Council Bluffs Police Department says copper thefts are on the rise. There have been 34 incidents since the start of 2013. 

Business owners are frustrated. They say, not only is it a hassle to replace the stolen items, but it can cost thousands of dollars.
"They disassembled one unit, stole that and another night, they stole another unit," said Scott Darrah, who runs Ameriprise Financial in downtown Council Bluffs.
Darrah said about a week ago, an electrician noticed damage to the copper lines that go to his air conditioning units.
"We came out and saw that my copper lines had been cut," said Darrah. "I had my air conditioning repairman come, and he said sometimes they cut it just to watch the Freon come out. It's like a fireworks show."
The thieves weren't done. They came twice.
They destroyed one unit and stole the second.
"I came and watched to see if I could catch anybody with this one," said Darrah, pointing to the empty spot where the unit was. "I left at 2:30 a.m., and they got it sometime between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m."
This isn't the first time a copper thief has hit his business.
Last summer,  his sprinkler system was stripped.
"They pulled my sprinkler line out to get about $10 worth of copper," said Darrah. "I had to have that repaired too."
Darrah is looking at least $7,000-$12,000 in repairs.
He said he has to beat the summer heat.
"I've been trying to get my bids and be timely with everything now," he said. "I'm trying to fight the rush to get air conditioning."
Police ask for the public's help in preventing this kind of theft.
Officers say if you see someone outside a home or business, who doesn't look like they should be there, call police.