Copper theft is new trend for criminals

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News 12 11pm/ Sunday September 8, 2013


Augusta, Ga (WRDW)---- The weekend is almost over, but for some it's time to clock-in into their second job.

"The main thing is they do everything legit. I mean they ain't nothing they try to hide--or if there's something that's not suppose to be here--it ain't coming in here," playing it by the book--- that's what Michael Studer says keeps him coming back to Campbell's Recycling for the last 5 years to sell his scrap metal.

"They make sure to go through your whole ID-- and make sure you have a valid ID-- and that you're not bringing in something that you're not suppose to have here," he told News12.

While it's company policy it's also the law to keep an eye out for big money items like a wire off spool, worth $6,000, that was taken by an temporary employee at Augusta Regional Airport, just earlier this month. Or the hot water heater Anthony Hampton was accused of stealing from a home in Augusta last month. Something this copper broker doesn't understand because he says even the little items can bring big bucks.

"I've filled in the three 55 gallon drum of crushed cans before and made 60 dollars just off them," said Studer.

And while coke cans can help add some cash to your pockets-- experts say car batteries are also a hit ticket item for crooks-- like the 24 batteries taken from Bamberg County School buses, as the school year got underway this year. Marking your battery with spray paint is a tool officers says can help you in identifying your battery from a pile in a scrap yard if it's ever stolen. So, as Studer gets ready to spend the bucks he's earned -- he says don't trash that can-- it could be worth something

"I would save it-- that could be your gas money for next week," he laughed and said,

Another tool that keeps crooks from taking your money is a law requiring that only contractors sell back items like a/c units. So, you if your are not a licensed contractor--it will be harder to get money for the copper inside your cooling systems.