DENVER (CBS4) – Sprinkler repair crews have put out a warning that thieves are targeting copper pipes again.
Now is the prime time of year the thieves go through neighborhoods looking to steal valuable copper. but there is an inexpensive and easy solution for protecting the property.
It’s the time of year to blow out sprinkler systems to avoid frozen pipes and problems down the road. With no water flowing through the pipes it’s easier for thieves to make their move, That prompted Andrew Barnard to buy an expensive $400 cage to protect his pipes.
“The cage is there because our vacuum breaker assembly is copper, it kept getting stolen,” Barnard said.
Crews say the problem is happening all around the metro area.
“They cut it off, they bend the pipe until it snaps, and there’s been a couple of times when they hook up trucks to it and yank it right out of the ground,” a sprinkler repairman said.
At one salvage yard the owner makes anyone bringing in copper piping sign a form.
“Everybody is required to sign a statement that they rightfully own the material and therefore they can sell it,” he said.
On a daily basis police departments send out bulletins with photos of stolen items so that salvage yards owners can be on the lookout for thieves.
The copper brings in about $2.80 per pound. Small copper pipes can be worth $7 or $8. Thieves cruising neighborhoods often steal dozens at a time.
The value of the copper pipes goes down substantially if the copper is painted. An inexpensive way to deter thieves is to get a cheap can of spray paint and cover the pipes.