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Spike in copper theft has local entities cracking down

Molly Waldron

Spike in copper theft has local entities cracking down

CREATED May. 9, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Action News has just learned that thieves stole brass drains from bathrooms at the Spring Valley Community Park. 

As long as there is value in metal, there will be people who want to see it and steal it. Clark County has seen a dramatic increase in the number of thefts this past year, but now there are plans in place to prevent and catch those thieves in the act. 

Street lights, county plaques, AC units, railroad tracks and even statues at the Nevada Ballet Theater where there's copper metal -- there's copper thieves. 

But the SA Recycling plant has a plan. 

"The thieves are trying to generate income and we're hear to stop them," said SA Recycling General Manager Saul Haro. 

The first stop for a thief with copper to sell is at recycling plants, so Haro meets once a month with law enforcement, the water district, NV Energy and Union Pacific to help offset the problem. 

Haro said you'd be surprised what people bring in. If someone were to come in with a large amount of copper, it would be an immediate red flag. But the recycling plant has a plan in place for that. 

"We're taking your driver's license, license plates, getting finger prints, a vehicle description -- all the information we need to apprehend someone," Haro said. "Then we go ahead and document and notify Metro." 

The same goes for Morgan Plaster's Black Rock Security. While it's good for his business, he said security prevention will cut copper crime. 

"All it takes is something that detects the situation ASAP slows down the perpetrator as much as possible and something that allows for a response, preferably the police," said Plaster.

Metro said the statues from the Nevada Ballet Theater stolen this week will be difficult for thieves to get rid of. They've alerted all the recycling plants. If anyone has information about copper thefts, they're asked to call police.