Extra Security After Major Copper Thefts

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Feb 22, 2008 at 7:18 PM EDT

Police call it a huge weld in stopping a growing number of metal thefts.

Two Endicott men are behind bars accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in copper wire.

One company is taking action to keep thieves out.

Vestal Police believe these men are major players in area copper thefts.

24-year-old Robert Nalepa and 37-year-old Danny Travis are both from Endicott.

Police arrested them in the last few weeks.

Lieutenant John Taylor says metal thefts have already dropped.

"We've had excellent cooperation with the other local agencies who, again, are experiencing the same thefts and problems that we are. We work together on these situations, we share information, and again, when one makes an arrest everybody benefits," says Taylor.

Nalepa and Travis are accused of stealing 23 thousand dollars in copper wire.

13 thousand dollars worth was stolen from NYSEG.

And ten-thousand dollars was taken from Bob Murphy Incorporated in Vestal.

The company sells new metal and does steel construction.

"It was quite a bit of copper, yes, copper is very valuable as any metal is today," says VP of Bob Murphy, Inc., Mary Murphy Harrison.

In 2001, copper was at 60 cents a pound, today it's approaching 4 dollars a pound.

Thieves steal the copper and try to sell it for cash.

Bob Murphy has recently beefed up security by adding cameras.

"We've also installed some gates to limit access to the back areas," says Bob.

Police also stepped up patrols to prevent another theft.

We first told you about the copper theft trend in October, when Ben Weitsman and Son in Owego was also beefing up security.

Now a new state law requires anyone selling scrap metal to show ID.

It could help police track down thieves trying to cash in on stolen goods.

Vestal Police say the arrests of Nalepa and Travis came after they recently developed leads.

Both men are in the Broome County Jail.

And police say they could make more arrests in this case.

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