Police and scrap yards crackdown on copper thefts

By Kelly McCarthy

November 14, 2013 Updated Nov 16, 2013 at 11:36 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton Police are seeing an increasing number of burglaries where copper is stripped from basements and vacant homes.

"Over the course of the last month and a half I think we've made about five or six arrests in connection with those burglaries," said Captain Jack Collins, Binghamton Detective Bureau.

Three of those arrests happened this week. Binghamton police arrested three men on Wednesday in connection with copper theft, but Capt. Collins says the problem is not over just yet.

"Where ever there's money, where ever there's a market," Collins said, "There's a crime that goes with it."

Copper is being sold for about $2.50 - $3 a pound. Police are working with Weitsman Upstate Shredding to identify suspicious people, and copper drop offs.

"The scrap yards know who's bringing the stuff in and they let the investigators know," Collins said, "And that's extremely important because then it gives us people to interview, people to talk to, and people to keep an eye on."

Adam Weitsman said they've made updates to security to keep stolen metals out. They take pictures of all exchanges and require people to show a photo ID.

"We have a photograph of the material and the person coming in, so if somebody was going to steal something you would think they wouldn't bring it here but they do anyway."

It's not only professionals that can help catch the copper thieves. Police are urging the community to keep an eye on their neighborhood.

"We need people to be the eyes and ears out there," Collins said, "We need them to be vigilant and we need them to call immediately. That's the most important thing I can't stress that enough."

Binghamton Police said the three burglary arrests made on Wednesday were all separate burglaries and do not believe anyone is working together. To report suspicious activity call the Binghamton Detectives bureau at (607) 772-7080.