A rash of petty thefts has a Williamsburg neighborhood that sits on the border between two police precincts on edge.
Community residents in the Cooper Park Neighborhood Block Association have made several complaints to 311 in August and September about thefts of copper pipes, wire and other pieces of metal on their property and in the vicinity.
“The first thing was about four feet of copper pipe stolen from an alley,” said Anna Hunter, a resident who lives on Sharon Street, on the 90th Precinct side of Cooper Park. “We built a deck over a parking space. We heard the copper pipe gushing and realized that it wasn’t under the hose. We went down to look and saw that the pipe had been sawed off and water was gushing out of the hole.”
The pipe was not the only piece of hardware stolen. A few weeks later, Hunter’s neighbor woke her and her husband up and said that two men were stealing their air conditioning unit.
“By the time the cops came, the guys had dumped the air conditioning unit down the block,” Hunter said. “They already stripped out the wires and any copper. We did wheel it back to our house. When the repair guy came, he said there was no way to salvage this.”
Other neighbors have had pieces of their fences, bicycles and metal trashcans stolen. Even a gutter from the back of one resident’s home and the caps of fire hydrants were taken.
Hunter believes that there has been an increase in petty theft regarding scrap metal because of the high price of copper (between $1.50 and $3 per pound) and the presence of several scrap yards in the neighborhood willing to buy from individual sellers.
Police from the 90th and 94th Precincts have responded to thefts on both sides of the precinct boundary and took down their complaints. There were 37 incidents of grand larceny reported over the past month in the 90th Precinct, up slightly (8.8 percent) from last year. Burglaries also are slightly up, from 30 to 32, an 8.8 percent increase, over the past month compared with last year. In the 94th Precinct, there were 22 reported incidents of grand larceny and 30 reported burglaries, increases of 10 percent and 36.3 percent respectively.
Officers from both the 90th and 94th were unable to return calls asking for comments about the police reports filed.