Saturday, October 31, 2009

once again on the upswing...,

Washington Post | A worldwide upsurge in a crime that officials say could stop trains, flood basements and darken homes has come to the Washington area, where this week's examples include the theft of a bus shelter roof.

The crime involves stealing copper, whether pipes, fittings or wiring. Authorities said the incidence of the thefts often rises with copper's price per pound, which has rebounded sharply in the past year to nearly $3.

In Fairfax City three major copper thefts were reported this week. On Thursday, police were told that a thief had filched the copper roof of a bus shelter at Jermantown Road and Carol Street. The same day, they said, "a large quantity" of wire was reported stolen from a Dominion Virginia Power storage yard in the 11100 block of Fairfax Boulevard. A similar theft was reported at the utility's substation in the 10500 block of Main Street.

In June 2008, with copper prices close to $4 per pound, theft soared around the world, and the consequences rippled through daily life.

As prices fell to about $1.30 in late December, pilferage appeared to decline. Now, in accounts from Australia to Atlanta and Canada to Cape Town, South Africa, officials say copper thieves appear increasingly active.