Copper thieves hit 14 vacant houses in Alle-Kiski Valley
By Chuck Biedka
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 12:16 a.m.
Copper thieves have struck at 14 vacant houses again in several Alle-Kiski Valley towns, police said, sometimes at homes that have a “for sale” sign in the yard and even during the daytime.
• West Deer Police Chief Jon Lape said officers are investigating copper thefts in nine houses in the past six weeks.
• In recent weeks, copper pipe or wiring has been taken from unoccupied houses along Alcoa Drive and Woodmont Avenue, Arnold police Chief Willie Weber said.
• And they've hit three times in Fawn Township, including once at a metals business and at two vacant houses.
Police are trying to determine whether the same thieves are involved.
In any case, there are similarities in some of the incidents:
• Some of the West Deer houses had for sale signs in the yard, just like the two houses in Fawn, police said.
• In two instances, a handful of the properties were located along the same road.
All three of the copper thefts in Fawn occurred along Howes Run Road.
In West Deer, four of the houses are along Millerstown-Culmerville Road, but they aren't close together.
Other houses were along Bailies Run, East Union and McKrell roads, McArthur Drive and Saxonburg Boulevard.
• Most of the houses targeted in West Deer aren't close to the road, and it is almost impossible for passersby to see anything occurring outside the houses, Chief Lape said.
• “Some are happening in the middle of the day,” said Weber, Arnold's chief. “We need people to call us right away when they see something suspicious.”
Were thieves watching?
The copper theft has upset a family's plans to sell a house in Fawn.
“I'm so angry,” Suzanne Buday said.
Buday, of South Buffalo, and her brother have been preparing to sell their mother's house. But those plans must now include replacing thousands of dollars of copper pipe.
Buday thinks the thieves put in time to watch her mother's house before finding a way inside on Nov. 3, a Saturday.“Were they watching the house?” Buday said. “My brother stays there five days a week. They waited until he left. They must have been watching.They went in right after he left and he found the loss 2½ hours later,” she said.“They took all the pipe from the house,” she said. “They even went into a crawl space to get pipe.”
Fawn police Chief Tim Mayberry said the thieves also took some medicine, cartons of water and soft drinks and clothing from that house.
Last week, someone entered another Fawn house but quickly left when they found someone was inside, Mayberry said.
That house has been sold and a man is planning to move in.
The thefts aren't the first in the Valley and they won't be the last.
Last fall, about a dozen vacant Harrison houses were targeted for copper thefts.
“This has been going on for decades,” said Gary Bush, a retired police officer and ISRI investigator.
The Washington, D.C.-based ISRI sponsors an email alert network telling scrap companies and police about thefts. Scrap companies were getting about $3.42 a pound for copper last week, said William Johnson, spokesman for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc.
Those who sell scrap to scrap yards get about $2 a pound, he said.•“Especially with the economy as it is, we don't see this slowing down any time soon,” Johnson said.
“We encourage cooperation between scrap yard owners and law enforcement,” he said. “Legitimate scrap yard owners don't want to buy stolen goods.”
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Alvarez struggles as Pirates fall short against Brewers
- Latrobe woman texts searchers in Linn Run State Park to tell them she’s OK
- Portersville man charged with homicide of Harmony man
- RiverQuest short of money, looks for a partner
- Rossi: Pens sticking to power-play plan
- Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
- Police say Latrobe woman bought gun for boyfriend, who shot neighbor
- Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional