Foiled again! Copper thieves run roughshod over DUMBO work site

The Brooklyn Paper
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Armed thieves locked up a security guard and ransacked a DUMBO construction site in search of copper on Water Street on Oct. 1.

The bandits entered the site between Jay and Bridge streets — where luxury developer Toll Brothers is completing a 66-unit condo — around 1:20 am, according to a police report.

They locked the guard in his booth before hunting for the building’s supply of that most precious of not-so-precious metals, a quest for the new gold that has become one of the most-common crimes in the borough.

Thugs have hit construction sites, apartment buildings and even MTA storage facilities for copper, which is used for electrical and plumbing work, among other uses.

The common metal is sought after by thieves as its price has risen steadily in the past decade, from less than $1 per pound to nearly $4 per pound this year. Copper fetches almost $7,000 per ton on the open market.

Best of all (from the thieves’ perspective), unlike precious metals such as gold and silver, copper is rarely secured at construction sites, making it an easy target.

In the case of the Oct. 1 armed robbery, the thieves found a huge stash of copper, but had to settle for stealing two smaller rolls after realizing that they couldn’t carry the 2,000-pound spool out by themselves, said John Gullixson, the site’s project manager,

The haul would have been worth approximately $15,000 on the open market, equaling a successful heist carried out at a Prospect Heights construction project in July.

Gullixson said he wasn’t surprised at the break-in.

“Whenever someone breaks into a construction site they’re always looking for copper,” he said, adding that he will install new security cameras to prevent future break-ins.

“We don’t expect it to happen again,” he said.

Nobody ever does.

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Reader Feedback

Josef from downtown bklyn says:
it's no surprise that people are turning to such thefts; unemployment in Brooklyn was at 9.6 percent in the most recent month on the BLS website, and that's not counting the underemployed or those who have ceased looking for work.
Oct. 5, 2011, 2:01 pm

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