There were at least four major thefts of copper piping in three neighborhoods last week, the latest in an ongoing spike in thefts of the increasingly valuable golden brown metal. Here are the sordid details:
Con Edison was nicked twice in just five days this month. The first theft was reported on July 1 after workers for the power company opened a sidewalk grate at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place to discover that a transformer that was supposed to be there was not. The electric and gas giant told cops that the piping was worth $5,700.
Four days later, Con Ed workers opened a sidewalk grate at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Second Street to find $1,200 in copper piping had been stolen.
It’s the first time that such large copper thefts have been reported in Park Slope’s 78th Precinct, but the once-cheap metal has become a target for thieves all over Brooklyn in the past few months as the value of copper has soared.
The raw material for American pennies has risen in price from roughly 80 cents per pound in 2003 to close to $4 a pound today.
Such prices explain why thieves busted the padlock on a vacant India Street apartment building between 5 pm on June 27, and 9 am on July 1 and stole $30,000 in piping. Cops say the crooks broke into the site, which is between Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard, and stripped the entire building of its most valuable resource: the copper.
A Downtown construction site was also ripped off on June 29, though in that case, perps only got away with $230 worth of the heavy metal. The perps had arrived at the Flatbush and Myrtle avenues site at around 7 am, leafed through the available supplies and grabbed their loot.