The number of businesses in Morehouse Parish being targeted for the copper in their air conditioner units is rising.
According to Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Tubbs, they investigated the theft of two units at the Upper Room Church Saturday night.
In addition, “the city has been investigating the thefts of units at Culp Insurance and Grace Baptist Church,” Tubbs said.
During a Crimestoppers board meeting yesterday, Bastrop Police Chief Downey Black agreed is becoming a big problem.
“Republican Finance was also hit over the past week,” Black said. “They’re not even turning the breaker off to some of these buildings. They’re taking the fan off the top and pulling the copper out.”
The Crimestoppers board members held the meeting to discuss raising the reward money amount for information leading to an arrest.
“We’re trying to figure out an angle we can take to stop this,” said board member Jimmy Christmas. “We have quite a few thousand dollars in the budget and we’re willing to do whatever it takes.”
With copper selling for $3.25 – 3.40 a pound, copper thieves are more prevalent than they were in the past.
Cliff Clifton, owner of Advanced Heat and Air, told the Enterprise earlier this month employees have been getting a lot of calls from churches and residents who’ve gone out of town and returned to find their A/C units have been robbed.
Clifton said three or four years ago, copper was only 50 to 70 cents a pound and the robberies weren’t as frequent.
Christmas, owner of Christmas Reality, said he’s been having problems with copper robberies occurring in empty homes for sale.
“If I put a For Sale sign up in the front yard, they know it’s vacant and it becomes a target,” Christmas said.
Tubbs said they work closely with the scrap yards who buy the copper, but many thieves are making trips out of town to sell it.
“There’s three scrap yards in West Carroll and two in East Carroll,” Tubbs said. “Some of these thieves are driving to Tennessee to sell it.”
The board members suggested other ways of preventing or catching copper thieves such as putting iron cages around the A/C units.
“I plan to mark all of my copper with paint so the recycling company will know who it belongs to if someone brings it in,” Christmas said.
Crimestoppers board president Milton Caldwell said they’re determined to catch those responsible.
Page 2 of 2 - “We’ve got the money in our budget to pay whoever can give us information,” Caldwell said. “If $1000 doesn’t work, we’ll push it up to $2000 if we can.”
To report this or any other crime, call Crimestoppers at 281.0050.